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Iran gas project in advance stage, says Pakistani PM

Islamabad, Sept 3, IRNA - The Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project is at an advanced stage of negotiations, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Monday.

We are confident that this project will be launched in the near future. Similarly, we are exploring the possibilities of a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan, which could be extended onward to India, Aziz said at a seminar at the Institute of Strategic Studies on "Energy: Sources of Regional Cooperation and Competition".

He said that at present Pakistan meets 75% of its energy requirements from domestic resources including our indigenous gas, oil and hydro electricity production.

However, in order to sustain our growth rate of over 7% over the 5 years, we would need to greatly expand our energy resource base, Aziz said.

Pakistan is also engaged in negotiations for import of electricity through high voltage transmission links from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan through Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said that the construction of electricity grids for this purpose has already commenced in Afghanistan.

Similarly, we are already purchasing electricity from Iran for use in our border areas of Balochistan.

This can be extended to other parts of the country.

He said that completion of the road and rail network presently underway linking Pakistani ports to Central Asia through Afghanistan and Iran would also provide access to Central Asian energy resources and would supplement oil and gas transportation through pipelines.

Talking about international issues, the Prime Minister said it is desirable to reduce tensions between Iran and the Western countries over Iran's nuclear programme.

These threats to regional peace and security can only undermine prospects for intra regional cooperation in the energy sector and in the long term would derail efforts to ensure energy security for the entire world, he said.

He said Pakistan also believe that it is imperative to resolve on-going disputes and conflict situations in the Middle East such as the situation in Palestine, the war in Iraq and the tensions in Lebanon.

... Payvand News - 9/3/07 ... --

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