Position unchanged: No backtracking on Iran gas pipeline, US told

Published: February 2, 2012

Petroleum minister invites US companies to invest in Pakistan and sell LNG. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

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.

Reader Comments (18)

  • John B
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:23AM

    Let us see. Is it not contradictory to the PAK agreement with India on TAPI pipeline recently?

    I smell a rat in this.

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  • ashok sai
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:27PM

    Empty vessels makes (so much !) noise.

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  • Feb 2, 2012 - 12:31PM

    he will keep on saying this but will not build a single foot of pipe line.
    They will never import gas from Iran…

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  • Farhan Gilgiti
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Good decision.

    Pakistan should defend its strategic interests, instead of toeing to the UN/US political shenangians.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:11PM

    We will see as to how long this Charade is kept up !
    This Country never ever learns to face reality and live with it, but enjoys going on deillusional trips too often, until they are brought back to reality !!!!

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  • Pakistani
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:13PM

    US , you have no right to stop us from the decisions to fulfill energy needs , you attack on other countries to capture their oil fields

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  • sunny
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:46PM

    Excellent stance of GoP. Pakistan facing energy crisis and have the right to import gas, petrol etc from anywhere whether it is Iran or USA.

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  • SM
    Feb 2, 2012 - 7:16PM

    The US has been “intending to help Pakistan” for the past decade. But no help has been forthcoming other than the constant “do more” demands.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:43PM

    Islamabad on Wednesday reiterated its
    position that it will not backtrack on
    the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline
    project despite Washington’s sanctions

    Sounds grand — now all you need to do is perform an economic analysis (the one you have been working on forever) – get the money to build the pipelines (need to find a lender willing to face the wrath of the USA) – build the pipeline – defend the pipeline – and find money to pay for the gas. Easy peasy.

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  • FactCheck
    Feb 2, 2012 - 10:17PM

    Not even an inch of pipeline will be built why? Iran is under sanctions which is getting ready to get worse. Irans currency is on a free fall. Pakistan doesn’t have the money. Neither countries can build this on their own, they don’t have the know how or needed technology.

    Good luck with the pipeline though.

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  • antanu g
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:25PM

    @Cautious:
    iran has already offerred to fund the pak side of pipeline…where are you?

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  • antanu g
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:26PM

    @FactCheck:
    iran already completed its side of pipe line and you still think no one except the west has the know how?

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  • Parvez
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:37PM

    Iran exports oil to many countries around the world. If it exports gas to Pakistan which is a neighbour country why should America object ? There seems to be no logical reasoning in this objection ? Or is it Saudi Arabian pressure being exerted through America, to keep Iranian influence away from Pakistan ?
    End of the day we must do what is good for us, irrespective of what others think.

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  • G. Din
    Feb 3, 2012 - 12:08AM

    @Parvez:
    “There seems to be no logical reasoning in this objection ? Or is it Saudi Arabian pressure being exerted through America, to keep Iranian influence away from Pakistan ?”
    You are a member of UN. You must abide by any UN sanctions, whether you consider them logically reasonable or not, or be a pariah state just like North Korea. Even if American/western sanctions are not mandatory, the consequences for flouting them are enough to bury Pakistan. There is no Saudi pressure now, if there was none before.
    “End of the day we must do what is good for us, irrespective of what others think.”
    The question, however, is : do you really, really know what is good for you? What others think has a very material bearing on the answer to that question.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 3, 2012 - 2:24AM

    @antanu g. Is this the same Iran who’s currency is at an all time low – inflation rate spiraling , won’t allow PIA planes to land because they haven’t paid the appropriate landing fee, and who’s economy is generally considered to be in the tank?

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  • Parvez
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:19AM

    @G. Din: Thanks for the comments.
    On the first issue did Bush and the US bother about the UN when they invaded Iraq ?
    Of course we are Pakistan and not the US of A, so you are right.
    On the second issue, I in no way advocate ignoring what others think but backing down from doing what is right because of that would simply be dishonest.
    Discussing doing what is right is one thing and discussing what actually happens is another.

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:35AM

    @Parvez:

    Could not agree with you more. Equally you also need to be prepared for the blow back that will result from this. You have a very small window for any leverage with the US. I would suggest it is used wisely

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  • Parvez
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:31PM

    @Harry Stone: In reality Pakistan has zero leverage with USA, it’s all one sided and no fault of the US. Ground reality as far as the pipe line is concerned its more a pipe dream than anything else, as it stands right now. But that should not stop us from saying what we feel is right. Cheers !!

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