Islamabad on Wednesday reiterated its position that it will not backtrack on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project despite Washington’s sanctions against Tehran but at the same time offered to import gas from US-based companies.
“Sanctions imposed by the United Nations do not affect the IP gas pipeline project and therefore Pakistan will continue to pursue it,” Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain told US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, who called on him.
During the meeting, Dr Hussain offered to the US to supply Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan by setting up companies like other players currently working on LNG import projects in the country.
According to a statement issued by the ministry of petroleum, Dr Hussain said: “Pakistan needs to meet its energy demands immediately and for this all options are to be availed.”
Dr Hussain stated that the US was a strategic partner in the war against terrorism and also a catalyst in the country’s economic development. “Pakistan has always maintained good relations with the US in economic, social and technological fields,” he added.
He emphasised upon Pakistan’s immediate requirement to fulfil energy demands and said that the government was working on various solutions to provide relief to indigenous consumers.
The minister said that his ministry was always open to tangible options and both long-term and short-term feasible proposals were being considered and given due importance.
He added that the government of Pakistan is brining new petroleum exploration and production policies, in which attractive investment options have been incorporated. He expressed confidence that US oil and gas companies would invest in Pakistan under a new policy.
The minister asserted that misconceptions need to be clarified and communication between the government of Pakistan and the United States should be a regular feature.
Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry apprised the US ambassador of the ongoing projects that were being undertaken by the ministry to overcome gas shortages. He expressed gratitude for the help extended by the US government in the energy sector and emphasised that transfer of technology between the two countries was imperative.
In reply, Munter assured: “The US intends to help Pakistan in resolving its energy crisis.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.