Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
Iran and Pakistan on Sunday formally signed an export deal in Tehran which stipulates that the Islamic republic would begin supplying its eastern neighbor natural gas from 2014.
The contract is the latest step in completing a
multi-billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan within the next four
years, SHANA News Agency reported.
"This is a happy day," Iran's deputy oil minister Javad Owji told reporters at the contract signing ceremony.
"After decades of negotiations, we are witnessing today the execution of the agreement... to export more than 21 million cubic meters (742 million cubic feet) of natural gas daily from 2014 to Pakistan," he added.
The pipeline will connect Iran's giant South Pars gas field with Pakistan's southern Baluchistan and Sindh provinces.
Owji said that from Monday, Iran will start building the next 300-kilometre (187.5 miles) leg of the pipeline from the southeastern city of Iranshahr to the Pakistani border, through the Iranian port of Chabahar.
Iran has already constructed 907-kilometres of the pipeline between Asalouyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran's South Pars field.
Pakistan's Deputy Energy Minister Kamran Lashari, who was present at the signing ceremony, said that Islamabad will conduct a one-year feasibility study for building its section of the pipeline.
It will then "take three years for constructing the 700-kilometre pipeline" from the Iranian border to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, he added.
Pakistan plans to use the gas purchased from Iran for its power sector.
Dubbed the "peace pipeline," the project has been planned since the 1990s and originally would have extended from Pakistan to its old rival, India. New Delhi has been reluctant to join the project because of its long-running distrust of Pakistan, with whom it has fought three wars since independence in 1947.
Under a deal signed in March, Pakistan will be allowed to charge a transit fee if the proposed pipeline is eventually extended to India.
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