Islamabad, Dec. 30, IRNA-Pakistan has expressed hope that the construction on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline would start in 2007.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Amanullah Jadoon told the upper house of Parliament on Thursday evening that the ongoing negotiations on the proposed gas pipeline were progressing smoothly.
The minister was responding to questions by the Muttahida Majlis - e-Amal Senator Professor Ghafoor Ahmed, who wanted to know the present status of the project and the time by which work on the project would start.
The minister said that the IPI project was being pursued with the Iranians under a Working Group constituted between petroleum ministries of Iran and Pakistan.
The group has held four meetings so far.
He pointed out the last meeting of the group was held on November 16-17 in Tehran this year to discuss the gas demand, pipeline route, delivery point. Project structure and buyer status of South Pars gas field development and related matters were also discussed.
"Considering the size and magnitude of the project, both sides agreed to continue to interact with each other to develop a world class safe and viable project," he maintained.
The multi-billion dollar project could cost US dollar 4 billion and the length of the pipeline would be around 2700 kilometers from Iran to India via Pakistan.
The project also envisages export of Iranian gas to India via Pakistan: Pakistan and India have also formed a Working Group and so far held two meetings to discuss technical, commercial, financial and legal aspects of the proposed pipeline, the minister said.
The minister was hopeful that the construction work on the proposed project was likely to start in 2007.
Pakistan has made it clear that even if India decided not to joint the project, it would be built, to meet Islamabad's growing energy requirements.
Some media reports early this year had suggested India might opt for staying away from the project.
However, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Oil Minister had reiterated their commitment to the pipeline.
... Payvand News - 12/30/05 ... --