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Iran gasline project most economical, practical: Pak Official

Islamabad, May 6, IRNA - The proposed project of gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan is the most economical option for Islamabad, said a top official of the Inter-State Gas Pipeline Systems in Islamabad on Thursday.

Rashid Lone, who is Managing Director of the Systems told IRNA in an interview that the gas pipeline from Iran was also the best practical option as compared to other proposals.

"I was in Iran last week to attend an international conference on energy and held informal constructive discussions with officials from Iran's Oil Ministry," he added.

According to Lone, next round of Iran-Pak experts will be held in Tehran and a five- member delegation headed by senior official from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Iftikhar Ahmed would leave for Iran later this month to discuss the project.

The first round was held in Islamabad in December last.

Asked to comment on other options, he said that Islamabad has two more options: Gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan and the second option is import of gas from Qatar.

However, he strongly advocated for Iran gasline option.

Lone said Iran had expressed its readiness to supply gas to Pakistan at the border and even inside the country at competitive rates.

The official said Pakistan had no objection to the gasline being extended to India, and Islamabad had offered security guarantee in this connection.

Experts said that if the project were extended to India, Pakistan would earn up to US dollar 700 million as transit fee annually as it would pass through its soil.

Former secretary of the ministry visited India in January and reportedly urged India to take final decision whether or not it wanted to be part of the project by end of the year.

Lack of gas reserves in Turkmenistan, geographical and security constraints are the main hurdle in realisation of the project via Afghanistan to Pakistan from Turkmenistan. On the other hand, experts said the import of gas from Qatar would be a very expensive option.

... Payvand News - 5/6/04 ... --

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