IP Project to Accelerate Post-Sanctions

IP Project to Accelerate Post-SanctionsIP Project to Accelerate Post-Sanctions

As soon as sanctions imposed on Iran are lifted, there will neither be any obstacles nor pressure from a third party to implement the long-awaited Iran-Pakistan Pipeline, Pakistan's oil and natural resources minister said on Friday.

After holding talks with Iran's newly-appointed Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoust, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi added that notwithstanding Pakistan's procrastination in implementing the project, plans have been made to complete the project by 2017, IRNA reported.

According to Abbasi, banks and foreign companies are still not sure whether sanctions are reversible or not.

He added that nobody knows if they will be terminated all at once or one at a time.

"Serious negotiations were held with Iran's ambassador about IP's details," he said, noting that the plan is being developed.

The map has been designed and the pipe-laying route has been specified. In addition, talks are underway with foreign contractors to carry out the project.

Pakistani officials had previously said the country was forced to delay the project in view of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Shortly after the July 14 agreement between Iran and six world powers over Tehran's nuclear program and the increasing prospect of an end to Iran's financial and trade restrictions, Abbasi said once the sanctions go, there is no excuse to postpone implementing the plan.

"The final agreement with a Chinese enterprise to finance the project has not been concluded yet. Nonetheless, the company is capable of funding 85% of the plan and it has already finished the feasibility studies," he said, adding that the final contract for the construction of a major part of the pipeline from Gwadar Port to Nawabshah will be signed in the near future.

Asked about Pakistan's capability to set a timetable to complete the project, Abbasi said, "Laying the pipeline from Gwadar Port to Nawabshah, which is about 780 kilometers, will normally take 30 months, yet we are determined to build it in 24 months. Extending the pipeline from Gwadar Port to Iran's border will last four months. Interestingly, both projects will be implemented simultaneously."

The pipeline will bring much-needed gas to Pakistan, which suffers from a crippling electricity deficit because of a shortage of fuel for its power plants.

The minister believes that the two states enjoy considerable economic potentials to develop energy ties as Pakistani's refineries, which are managed by the private sector, can meet their crude requirements from Iran.

Expressing willingness about the imminent termination of sanctions, the official stressed that Pakistan is also interested in purchasing liquefied petroleum gas as well as natural gas from Iran as his country is in dire need of energy.