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Iran, Pakistan inch closer to gas pipeline

Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM   |   Comments

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- An adviser to the Pakistani government said a delegation from Iran is expected to arrive in Islamabad to discuss a long-planned natural gas pipeline.

Assim Hussain, an adviser for the Pakistani Ministry of Natural Resources, told The News International that an Iranian delegation was planning to discuss contracts for some pipeline construction near the shared border.

He said Islamabad was looking for a reduced price for Iranian natural gas after striking a similar deal with Turkmenistan.

"We have struck a deal with Turkmenistan for import of gas under TAPI gas line at reduced price if compared with price with Iran," said Hussain.

No pricing terms were given for either project. The News reports that Islamabad's gas sales purchase agreement stipulates that Iran would match any rival natural gas deal.

Plans for a natural gas pipeline from Iran's South Pars natural gas field to Pakistan, and potentially India, were launched in the 1990s as the so-called Peace Pipeline.

In early February, the Indian government gave its consent to the forming of TAPI Ltd., which from Dubai will look for a consortium to lead the development of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-India natural gas pipeline.

The U.S. government objects to Iran's plans because of concerns gas revenue is financing a controversial nuclear program. Washington has expressed its support for TAPI, however.

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