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Pakistan keen to transfer Iran's gas to India, China

Tehran, Nov 11, IRNA - Mokhtar Ahmad, Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, here Saturday said his country was determined to import gas from Iran, voicing Islamabad's eagerness to transfer the commodity to India and China.

He made the statement after the three-day Iran-Pakistan talks on the peace pipeline resulted in finalization of the text in early hours of Saturday.

The visiting advisor told PIN, "As we expected, the text of the peace pipeline has been made ready for the signing of the two states' heads." He added only the annex of the contract would need technical study that would last one month.

"We faced no obstacle during negotiations and all articles of the peace pipeline contract were smoothly restudied," said the advisor.

Gas import from Iran was vital for domestic industries and economic development of Pakistan that was facing the growing demand for the commodity, he underlined.

Pakistan's Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Farrukh Qayyum said Islamabad gave first priority to import gas from Iran.

The official added Pakistan preferred to meet its gas need through Iran and would study other options in next stages, reported PIN.

"Given the growth of domestic economy and the development of local industries, the demand for gas has considerably risen in Pakistan during the recent years," he told reporters, adding the Pakistani government would study gas imports from Qatar and Turkmenistan after it finalized the peace pipeline with Iran.

Pakistan and Iran have agreed to revise the pricing formula of the 3.5 -billion-dollar gas pipeline project in 2015, paving the way to seal what is being described as a landmark deal.

Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, Iranian oil minister's special envoy for peace pipeline talks, elaborated on the text of gas contract Iranian and Pakistani officials finalized here in the wee hours of Saturday.

He said the text of the gas contract was finalized and the two parties reached an agreement on all cases the legal experts had outlined.

He added the two parties also reached an agreement on those sentences the legal advisors had already split.

Ghanimifard said technical points would be studied by the two sides' engineering groups according to a timetable, paving the way for signing of the contract by the two states' heads and contracting companies.

Technical and engineering issues under the name of "Operational Agreement" would be studied as the annex of the contract by the two sides' engineers, said the special representative.

Ghanimifard added the Operational Agreement was a technical text that would be attached to the original contract as its inseparable part, explaining that all international oil and gas contracts had a similar annex.

The NIOC international affairs head said the main technical points of the contract included gas pressure at the venue of delivery and selection of border point for transfer of gas.

He said the Indian party was also willing to rejoin the peace pipeline project, expressing hope the contract would be signed by the three sides.

Shifting to profitability of the project, he said, "The issue should not be compared with the presence or absence of one of the two states, Pakistan and India, as all arrangements have been already made for transferring a certain volume of gas to the border."

Under current conditions, the Pakistani side had openly and officially announced it would welcome the transfer of Iran's gas to India, China, and any other point via its territory, said the official.

"Pakistan's welcome means that we will face a growing demand for gas in the world particularly the Asian market in the near future," he predicted.

Some part of the Asian market's need could be met through peace pipeline and some parts in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via sea, Ghanimifard added.

"The predictable future shows that we should not focus on India's demand as other Asian countries can involve in the peace pipeline project and receive our gas or transfer Iran's gas through swapping the energy carrier to a destination that links to its own pipeline." The envoy added exports and presence in the international gas markets was of great importance for Iran under current circumstances.

Based on the country's plan on gas output, the commodity would be exported after domestic need was met and the land's oilfields received the necessary gas through injection, said the NIOC official.

"It is economically important for Iran to export gas to Pakistan, India, and other Asian states at a time it has decided to export the commodity to European countries," he revealed.

... Payvand News - 11/11/07 ... --

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