WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Pakistan willing to import 5 bcf of gas per day from Iran
Pakistan has expressed its willingness to import 5 billion cubic feet of gas per day through the proposed Iran-Pakistan gas line to increase the project’s economic viability, a senior Pakistani government official told The News.
The previously proposed $7.3 billion project including Iran, Pakistan and India committed Pakistan to importing 3.15 bcf per day and India to importing 4.25 bcf per day. However, given India’s “evasive” attitude toward the IPI project, Iran and Pakistan have decided to push ahead with the $3.6 billion IP line, said the official.
According to Robert Hathaway, director of Asia Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the “principal” reason for what he characterized as India’s foot-dragging on the IPI project was its hesitation to “put supplies of energy at the mercy of the Pakistanis.”
Talks between Iran and Pakistan, which ended Sunday, were led by Ghanimi Fard, special representative on the gas project for Iran, and Pakistani Petroleum Secretary Farrukh Qayyum.
Pakistan suggested that gas imported from Iran could be exported to China in the form of liquefied natural gas, both to relieve the energy shortage in China’s Western provinces and to strengthen the economic viability of the IP project.
Tehran has not responded yet to Islamabad’s offer.
While an agreement between Iran and Pakistan would presumably be met by resistance in the United States, Hathaway cautioned that the United States must recognize Pakistan’s “absolutely critical shortage of energy.”
According to Pakistani government statistics, he said, by 2025 Pakistan will rely on external sources to meet 62 percent of its total energy needs.
Plans for CBM pipelines under way in China
Planning for several coal-bed methane pipelines in China’s Shanxi province is under way, as is planning for the nation’s first cross-province CBM pipeline.
“We will start construction on four to five pipelines,” said Sun Maoyuan, general manager of China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd., China Business Weekly reported. “Currently our company is planning for some pipelines in the eastern and central parts of Shanxi, and we are still considering locations and routes.”
China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) calls for the construction of 10 CBM pipelines by the end of 2010, nine of which will start in or traverse Shanxi province. According to the Plan, the pipelines will have a total capacity of 6.53 billion cubic meters and extend 1,441 kilometers.
CBM is a coal mine gas with properties similar to natural gas. Endowed with 37 trillion cubic meters, China has the world’s third largest CBM reserves.
Also under way are plans to construct China’s first cross-province CBM pipeline, which would link the Shanxi and Henan provinces.
The project “will help Shanxi province, an important CBM production base, to take advantage of its rich gas resources,” said Huang Shengchu, president of the China Coal Information Institute, China Daily reported. He added that it will also help alleviate the natural gas shortage in Henan province, which is estimated to be 1 billion cubic meters per year.
Sun expects to receive approval for the project from China’s National Development and Reform Commission later this year.
Insurgents attack northern Iraqi pipeline
Aggravating the region’s extant instability, suspected insurgents blew up an oil pipeline near Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk on Friday, Iraqi officials said.
The attack took place near Safra, a village about 40 miles west of Kirkuk. The insurgents are thought to have used an improvised explosive device, according to Iraqi Army Colonel Sadr Adeen Abdullah.
The pipeline supplied crude oil to a refinery in the city of Baiji. According to The New York Times, the attack was the third on pipelines supplying the Baiji refinery since Sept. 18, when an oil pipeline to Turkey was damaged in the explosion.
Approximately 20 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves are located in the north of the country.
Also on Friday near Kirkuk, insurgents combated with a convoy of Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih’s bodyguards and attacked a police chief.
Russian energy minister accuses Estonia of violating U.N. convention
According to Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, Estonia violated a U.N. convention when it refused to grant Nord Stream permission to survey seabed off Estonia’s coast as part of the company’s plan to construct a gas pipeline from Russia to Western Europe.
“It seems to me that the position formulated by the Estonian government is not correct from a legal point of view, since it directly contravenes the Law of the Sea convention,” said Khristenko, according to the Financial Times.
The pipeline in question will enable Nord Strom to begin pumping an annual 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Western Europe in 2010. That amount is expected to increase in 2013 to 55 billion cubic meters annually.
Despite Estonia’s refusal last month, the project remains a go, said Khristenko, although with some risk.
“Certainly, it carries a risk for the project, because one either has to change the route and go a little bit beyond our Estonian friends, or come back to the Law of the Sea convention and try to discuss the conditions,” he said.
Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom gas company has a 51 percent stake in Nord Strom.