Pakistan welcomes Argentinean interest

June 9, 2009 at 11:22 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 9 (UPI) -- Argentina has come forward with plans to invest in the Pakistani oil and gas sector, expressing interest in a gas pipeline to Turkmenistan, officials said.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari met with executives from Bridas Corp., an independent oil and gas holding company based in Argentina, to discuss investment opportunities in his country.

Zardari said a "visionary approach" to the oil and gas sector based on privatization, government deregulation and other free-market principles created an attractive investment environment, Pakistani daily The News reports.

Pakistan signed recent agreements with Iran for the long-delayed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline from the South Pars gas field. Islamabad in the wake of the signings boasted of the investment potential from that deal, notably for natural resources in Balochistan and Sindh province.

Zardari said he welcomed the Bridas interest in another project, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

The 1,044-mile TAPI pipeline is seen as a rival to the IPI pipeline. Security of TAPI routes through Afghanistan is an impediment, though in 2008 the Afghan government made several pledges to relieve those concerns.

Zardari said Islamabad would announce bidding rounds for TAPI "shortly."

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