Putin expected to visit Islamabad soon to seal $2b LNG deal

Published: February 16, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to arrive in Islamabad in the coming months to inaugurate the $2 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project which might open a new era of strategic and political alliance between the two countries, VOA reported.

Last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited Putin during his meeting with a Russian delegation led by Victor P Ivanov – co-chairman of the Russia-Pakistan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Economic, Trade and Scientific Cooperation – at the PM’s House in Islamabad.

“Putin might visit Pakistan before June,” said Mobin Saulat, CEO and managing director of Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS), the Pakistani company handling the project. “We are 200 million people. And we provide a gateway to other South Asian countries.”

Pakistan, Russia meet today to discuss $2b LNG project

Saulat pointed out that some Pakistani officials and energy experts, on a recent Moscow trip, were able to meet the heads of Russian energy giants Gazprom, Rostec and Rosneft for the first time in more than two decades.

Pakistan has recently singed a long-awaited multibillion-dollar LNG deal with Qatar which would see it import the fuel for 16 years to meet domestic energy requirements.

Islamabad has been trying to form new regional partnerships to diversify from its heavy reliance on the United States and China while Russia likely views the deal as an opportunity to expand its influence in key areas of South and Central Asia.

“There’s a great deal of thinking that this has more geopolitical underpinnings rather than commercial ones,” Khurram Hussain, a business and economy journalist and a former Pakistan scholar at Washington-based think tank Woodrow Wilson Centre, said.

“Pakistan is in dire need for foreign investment in infrastructure and the only parties that are willing to step forward thus far have been other states, particularly China,” Hussain said, adding that he had doubts about the project.

He went on to say, “I take agreements that have been signed in a veil of secrecy with a great deal of scepticism. If the government wanted to start the project in a few months, now would be the time to let analysts review the terms and conditions.”

Pakistan’s $2 billion LNG pipeline project hits a snag

While the current venture is a state-to-state project, it might give a signal to the private sector that Pakistan’s economy has powerful backers, he added.

The 1,100-kilometre-long structure will be able to transport 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day throughout Pakistan – from Karachi to Lahore.

The first phase of the three-phase project is expected to come online in two years, with the final completion date scheduled for some time in 2019. LNG, from any country that comes to Karachi port will be re-gasified and sent through this pipeline to the north.

Pakistan has worked on a similar model with China under which a Chinese firm would lay an LNG pipeline from Gwadar to Nawabshah and build an LNG terminal at the deep-sea port at a cost of $2.5 billion.

Russia will spend from $2 billion to $2.5 billion, which is almost 85 per cent of the cost of building the pipeline.

This article originally appeared on Voice of America.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • SGJ007
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:36PM

    ” liquefied national gas (LNG) ” Are you sure about this. National or ” natural ” . Recommend

  • Feb 16, 2016 - 6:37PM

    Very Good news for Pakistan. Its better to engage with everybody in the World.Recommend

  • 200 Million Pakistanis
    Feb 16, 2016 - 6:49PM

    Welcome Mr Putin. A Pakistan which believes in a strong friendship with you and Russia awaits you. Warm Wishes
    200 million PakistanisRecommend

  • ghazal
    Feb 16, 2016 - 7:05PM

    Russian and Chinese don’t give aid nor they believe in strategic investment, it is all practical. Recommend

  • NHA
    Feb 16, 2016 - 7:21PM

    Dear Mr President, You are Most welcome and Pak People are looking forward to welcoming you. And well done Pak PM and his team.

    A PakistaniRecommend

  • Point
    Feb 16, 2016 - 7:25PM

    meanwhile india calls upon Ambassador of Russia to record their protest :DRecommend

  • Feb 16, 2016 - 8:05PM

    we are waiting you putinRecommend

  • Sara Khan
    Feb 16, 2016 - 9:00PM

    Great news
    its better for Pakistan to deal with Russia, China and Indian than fighting wars for US and Saudi.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Feb 16, 2016 - 9:38PM

    LNG ok but what about Su-35??? IS Russian giving them or not??Recommend

  • Kazi
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:01PM

    Welcome Mr. Putin, looking forward to your visit.Recommend

  • romm
    Feb 16, 2016 - 10:27PM

    Mr Putin you are the Peter the Great II of Russian Empire. Thanks for changing the world from unipolar to Bipolar!
    Welcome to Pakistan. It’s time for Pakistani establishment to realize Blunders of the past and shape the foreign policies as per changing times. Recommend

  • Maher
    Feb 16, 2016 - 11:08PM

    Russia is a far better option for Pakistan than thankless USA and terrorist Saudia Recommend

  • buga
    Feb 16, 2016 - 11:51PM

    Russia is always available to sell you a “no bid” contract on anything — not much different than China. Not sure how overpaying for pipelines gives you independence from the USA.Recommend

  • Feb 17, 2016 - 2:11AM

    All these foreign energy buying planning are costly and we will pay high price for it in long term. Why not exploring our own under ground resources? Iran is better option but our Master are too buzzy in kick back policy. They are not patriots enough to plane for self sufficient. Recommend

  • Iqbal Afghan
    Feb 17, 2016 - 5:11AM

    Mr.Putin will never forgive Pakistan for what they did during Sovet War.. so no, Russia is no friend of Pakistan… The same way Russian Federation will never forgive Turkey for what they did to Russian Jet… So forget about friendship.. This is all business and it’s all about $.Recommend

  • heh
    Feb 17, 2016 - 5:45AM

    Putin is bae.Recommend

  • Lol
    Feb 17, 2016 - 6:47AM

    SSGC is going to profit heavily from this I believe. Imagine the transit fee that SSGC is going to charge to SNGP. Recommend

  • AJ
    Feb 17, 2016 - 7:13AM

    @buga:
    Overpaid is the TAPI Pipeline brokered by the US. Try comparing these two.Recommend

  • Media Monitor
    Feb 17, 2016 - 7:20AM

    What a nice choice of photo ET.Recommend

  • Feb 17, 2016 - 8:46AM

    @Iqbal Afghan, What Pakistan did to Russian was a revenge of 71 war. So, 1-1=0.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Feb 17, 2016 - 9:57AM

    @Maher:
    Sadly Pakistan doesn’t have much choice but to play musical chairs when it is scouting for not even friends but trade partners.Recommend

  • heh
    Feb 17, 2016 - 11:49AM

    @Media Monitor:
    Are you the guy on reddit??Recommend

  • Muneer
    Feb 17, 2016 - 11:08PM

    @Point:
    loved your comment you nailed it bro, a very war, welcome to Mr PutinRecommend

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Feb 18, 2016 - 11:36AM

    From Business point of View = Bravo !
    From Political Point of View(s) = Strange !
    From Traditional Point of View = Amazing !
    All above comment are applied after deal’s Finishing !Recommend

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