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Pakistan ready to work on Iranian pipeline

July 8, 2011 at 7:04 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 8 (UPI) -- Pakistan aims to start work on a pipeline on its side of the border to move natural gas from Iran's South Pars gas field, an official said.

Asim Hussain, Pakistan's minister for petroleum and natural resources, said Islamabad was in talks with various companies to start work on the $1.2 billion natural gas pipeline.

Hussain was quoted by the Associated Press of Pakistan as saying Iran was finished laying the pipeline on its side of the border. Pakistan is expected to start work on the project "within six months," he was quoted as saying.

Once dubbed the Peace Pipeline, the project was expected to reach into India. Washington in June said it was committed to expanding civilian nuclear cooperation with New Delhi, which recently backed away from the Iranian pipeline.

The Iranian gas pipeline is up against a Western-backed project from Turkmenistan that would follow a similar route. Hussain, however, said his country needs to take action now to address looming energy concerns.

"Our dependence on Pakistan-Iran pipeline was very high and there is no other substitute at present to meet the growing demand of the energy," he was quoted as saying.

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