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Iran gas line be materialized without further delay: Pak expert

Islamabad, March 30, IRNA-A noted Pakistani petroleum expert has strongly backed the tripartite gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan, saying the project be implemented without any further delay.

Talking to IRNA here, the expert Usman Aminuddin, who was minister for petroleum and natural resources, emphasized on taking the negotiations on the proposed pipeline to their logical conclusion.

He welcomed the Indian government's decision to dispel security concerns about the project and added that it was in the interest of all the three countries to go for the option. "It is a win-win situation for Iran, Pakistan and India," he remarked.

The expert, who is leaving for India to attend a conference on gas on April 7, said that Iran's Pars gas field, one of the largest in the world, would meet the growing energy needs of India and Pakistan for a long time.

He added that Iran would be supplying gas from the field, the gas reserves at Pars are estimated at 450 billion cubic feet.

The idea of laying the pipeline was envisioned in mid-1990s, but no real progress was made mainly due to Pak-India tensions on Kashmir issue.

However, after the recent thaw in their relations, it is hoped that the project could one day become a reality.

About the Turkmenistan gas pipeline project, the consultant pointed out 'two major hurdles': persistent security problem in Afghanistan, from where the pipeline will pass onto Pakistan and that no assessment was made as to how much gas reserves were at Daulatabad gas field.

He added that Russia had been using excessive gas from the gas field for a long time and it was difficult to ascertain how much was left to be supplied to Pakistan and possibly to India.

Keeping in view the security concerns in Afghanistan, he feared that no donor agency might step forward to provide funds for the 700-kilometer pipeline project.

Likewise, he questioned, who would give guarantee for the safety of the pipeline, therefore, he added, Iran option was the best viable project available.

As regards Qatar gas pipeline, the expert said that the project was technically impracticable. "There is no precedence of laying 4,000-meter pipeline under sea. Usually, pipelines in the sea are 1,800-meter deep," he contended.

He maintained that the maintenance and upkeep of the pipeline in the sea would be extremely difficult to ensure.

The consultant said that if the on-going peace process between Pakistan and India moved forward and the project was realized, it could be called 'peace pipeline'.

... Payvand News - 3/30/05 ... --

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