Pakistan and Iran sign gas pipeline agreements
By Kalbe Ali
ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough on the gas pipeline project, Pakistan and Iran signed the heads of agreement and an operational accord in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The inter-state gas systems, a semi-autonomous body which will take care of Pakistan’s interests in the import of gas through the pipeline, and the National Iranian Oil Company finalised the agreements.
The two technical agreements specify the dimensions of the pipeline, including its diameter, number of compressors and other operational issues.
The agreements are part of the ‘conditions precedents’ to be finalised to make the sale-purchase agreement effective.
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar has termed the signing a historic achievement and a milestone towards meeting the energy needs of Pakistan.
In a statement issued here, he expressed the hope that physical work would start soon and gas would flow into the system by the timeline.
He said that currently India was not part of the deal.
Mr Qamar said the heads of agreement dealt with transporting of gas meant for India through Pakistani territory if and when India decided to join the project.
Under the agreement, Pakistan will have the right to charge transit fee for gas transported to India. It also addresses the issue of transportation tariff, which will be worked out in line with international practices.
The second document signed on Tuesday deals with operational aspects of the pipeline.
The documents require the government of Pakistan to issue the guarantee to make the sale-purchase agreement effective.
The volume of 750mmcfd-1 bcfd gas, expected to be in the system by the middle of 2015, will help overcome the shortage of gas in the country.