Tehran Sees No Change in IP Pipeline Project

Tehran Sees No Change  in IP Pipeline ProjectTehran Sees No Change  in IP Pipeline Project

Iran never intended to cancel the gas pipeline contract with Pakistan, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) said Saturday.

“We have neither tried to impose a penalty on Islamabad over delays in gas exports,” Alireza Kameli was quoted by Shana news agency as saying. Every decision to be made on IP pipeline should be to the benefit of both sides, he said. “We want to complete this project at any price.”

Up to now, about 80 percent of the pipe-laying on the Iranian side of the border (1,100 km from a total 1,400 km) has been completed, Kameli stated, adding that the Pakistani side has yet to start its own 780km pipe-laying part. “We know that they face financial problems, so it is not clear when they would start the project on their side of the border,” he said.

The cost of the pipe laying project within Iran’s border has so far reached $2.5 billion.

Earlier reports said that Islamabad has been cautioned by Tehran over falling behind the schedule in fulfilling its obligations in the multi-billion-dollar pipeline project that is to take natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.

Some reports, however, said that Pakistan has asked Iran to waive the$3 million penalty per day, which was due on Pakistan from 1st January 2015 for delays on construction of the pipeline within the agreed timeframe.

The Pakistanis, according to Kameli, have been continuing with technical assessment of the pipeline project. “Initially, the Pakistani minister of natural resources aimed to hire a team of Iranian engineers for the assessment work, but they apparently preferred not to do so as they weren’t successful in getting the required licenses from the relevant authorities,” the NIGEC official said.   

According to Kameli, the government in Islamabad is now planning to complete the project in two phases – first, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal would be built at the Gwadar Port and then a 42-inch pipeline spread over 700km would be laid from Gwadar to Nawabshah for onward transmission of gas to northern parts of the country.

“We are hearing reports that Pakistan is going to carry out the project through contribution of Chinese finance,” Kameli added.

On Wednesday, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Pakistan lacks financial resources to lay the pipeline on its side, and will start imports from Iran once sanctions are lifted and financial problems are solved.

“If we are to agree with their request they should also revise some terms of the contract to the benefit of Iran,” Zanganeh asserted.

   Pakistan-Russia Pipeline Talks

Pakistan and Russia are set to meet next week to strike a final deal on laying a $1.7-billion gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore, which will carry imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) for overcoming energy crisis in Punjab, Pakistan Defence reported.

According to Pakistani officials, the two sides will be deliberating at a time when ministers of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will meet to make headway and award the financing contract of a transnational gas pipeline to French energy giant Total, which will work as a consortium leader.

Separately, a Pakistani team will hold talks with a Russian delegation on the modalities of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) pipeline.

Pakistan and Russia have already signed a protocol for awarding the contract of laying the LNG pipeline to a Russian company in a government-to-government arrangement.