Iran, Pakistan, decide to start formal negotiations on IP gas pipeline

18 November, 2023

Pakistan and Iran have decided to revive their stalled cooperation on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, which has been languishing for years due to the fear of US sanctions. The two countries will start formal negotiations within the next few weeks.

This was the outcome of the recent visit of Pakistan’s Interim Energy Minister Muhammad Ali to Tehran, where he met his Iranian counterpart and other senior officials.

According to a report by The News, energy minister said that Pakistan has reaffirmed its commitment to the project and conveyed its urgent need for energy security. Pakistan has also accelerated its work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

The minister said that the Iranian side listened to Pakistan’s concerns and agreed to increase their collaboration to make the IP project a reality.

The IP gas pipeline project is expected to provide 750 million cubic feet of gas per day to Pakistan, which is facing a severe energy crisis and relying heavily on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). The project is also seen as a symbol of friendship and cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

The project, however, has faced many delays due to the risk of US sanctions on Iran, which is under pressure for its nuclear program. Iran has completed its part of the pipeline, but Pakistan has not started the construction of its 780-kilometer section.

Iran has given Pakistan time until September 2024 to complete the project, otherwise it may move to international arbitration for the breach of contract.

The energy minister said that both countries revised the agreement in September 2019 and Iran said back then that it would not take any legal action against Pakistan for any delays until 2024.

He said that Pakistan could not construct the pipeline because of the threat of US sanctions on any project with Iran. He, however, said that the Iranian side assured that there would be no US sanctions as it was already selling gas to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan without any sanctions. They said that Pakistan would also be immune from any sanctions in this case.


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