Pakistani officials optimistic about Iranian pipeline plans

Oct. 14, 2013 at 7:48 AM

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Pakistan is optimistic about the prospects of getting its end of a natural gas pipeline from Iran completed, an official said.

Mubin Saulat, managing director of Pakistan's public Interstate Gas Systems Ltd., said in an interview published Sunday by The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, the pipeline would be "challenging but not impossible" for his country.

Pakistani officials say they expect to receive 750 million cubic feet of natural gas from Iran each day through the pipeline once all operations are completed. Pakistan's aging infrastructure and energy sector mismanagement has left most the country without a reliable source of electricity.

The Pakistani government said it may need Iran's help with financing its part of the cross-border pipeline.

India has been considered a potential partner in the pipeline

The Pakistani government is reviewing the pipeline's prospects in advance of a planned Oct. 23 meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Washington supports a rival pipeline planned from Turkmenistan and observers say U.S. sanctions on Iran may interfere with Pakistan's plans.

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