ISLAMABAD

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project is vital for the Pakistan's energy needs and Government of Pakistan is fully committed to complete this project. He said this while talking to an Iranian delegation led by Dr. Ali Taieb Nia, Iranian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance, who called the Minister in Islamabad on Monday, said a press release.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that due to the international sanctions on Iran, Pakistan has been unable to complete projects on its side. Despite our best efforts banks, international contractors and equipment suppliers were not ready to be involved in this project. Thr Minister told the visiting delegation that we are now planning to complete this project in two steps; first, we are installing LNG terminal at Gwadar Port and secondly a 42" pipeline of 700 KM length will be laid from Gwadar to Nawabshah for onward transmission of gas to the northern parts of the country. He informed the delegation that Pakistan is in negotiations with Chinese companies for construction of this pipeline and 70 KM portion of the pipeline from Gwadar to Iran border will be completed by Pakistani companies. He hoped that this project will start in near future. The Minister also stated that Pakistan wants to increase bilateral trade and economic ties with Iran not only in oil and gas sector including LPG petro chemicals and fertilizers but in other fields of the economy as well.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi mentioned that Pakistan's annual oil imports bill is $15 billion but direct oil trade between Iran and Pakistan is negligible and said that we expect this trade to increase substationally after the sanction issue is closed.

On this occasion Dr. Ali Taieb Nia, Iranian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance said that Iran has already completed its part of the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Projects and hoped that in near future Pakistan will also fulfill its commitment to complete its part of the project. He expressed his desire the Iranian gas should flow in to Pakistan soon so that Pakistan may be able to overcome its energy shortfall.

The Iranian Minister informed that Iran's negotiations with the international community on nuclear issue have been successful and hoped that the applicable sanctions will be removed very soon.

He further expressed his hope that with the removal of international sanctions Iran's trade volume and economic relations with its neighbours will further improve. He also said that Iran has great potential to export Petro-chemical products, electricity and fertilizer and offered Pakistan to benefit from these opportunities available in its neighbourhood.

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