Iran’s deputy oil minister, Ali Majedi, said on Monday that Pakistan must finance its own section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline which would enable it to buy gas from the Iran.
Majedi’s remarks come after Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked Iran to stump up $2 billion to finish the construction of the pipeline.
The $7.5-billion project launched in 2010 has drawn threats of US sanctions and run into repeated problems, including major financing issues.
“We did not make such a commitment to help Pakistan with $2 billion for the construction of the pipeline,” Majedi said, quoted by Fars news agency.
He argued that based on initial agreements each side “must bring its own share” in financing the project, adding the “Pakistanis need Iran’s gas and they should accelerate their work.”
Construction on the Iranian side of the border is almost complete, but Islamabad has run into repeated problems financing the 780-kilometre section to be built on its side.
Once completed, the project which aims to ease the chronic gas and electricity shortages in Pakistan would allow Iran to export 21 million cubic metres of gas per day.
Last week, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said he had ‘no hope’ for the gas supply deal with Pakistan because of financial problems. Zangeneh’s comments prompted Abbasi to insist the project would be completed and there was ‘no chance to abandon the pipeline project, because we need it’.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2013.