Islamabad  -  Pakistan and Russia are likely to sign the commercial agreement for the $2 billion North-South Gas Pipeline prior to January 2019, it was learnt reliably here.

Pakistan and Russia have finalised consultation on important technical points related to the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) agreement for the North South Gas Pipeline project, official sources told The Nation.

Four days talks between Russian company RT-Global Resources and Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited (ISGS) regarding North-South (Lahore to Karachi) gas pipeline was held in Islamabad this week.

The consultation regarding technical points of BOOT agreement was finalised and was handed over to the legal teams of both the countries for their inputs.

On the first day of negotiations, Pakistan and Russia have extended the government-to-government agreement for the $2 billion North South Gas Pipeline for six months.

It is pertinent to mention that the ECC in its meeting held on January 10, 2015 had approved the North-South Gas Pipeline Project (Project) under Government-to-Government (G2G) arrangements. The Government of Pakistan and Russian Federation entered into G2G agreement on the cooperation for the development of the pipeline project on October 16, 2015 at Islamabad. Russian side submitted the initial commercial proposal in November, 2016, which is under consideration.

The length of the North-South pipeline will be 1122KM with 42-inch diameter, which would annually transport around 12.4billion cubic meters (BCM) of LNG from Karachi to Punjab.

The project will be completed by 2020 and the Russian company will operate it for 25 years and after that it will be handed over to Pakistan.

Another committee has already been constituted to determine tariff for the North-South Gas pipeline project. Pakistan had already asked Russia to make a reduction in the tolling fee for pumping liquefied natural gas (LNG). The commercial agreement for the North-South Gas Pipeline will be signed by the end of December this year or early next year, sources said.

It is pertinent to mention here that besides North South Gas pipeline project, Pakistan and China had agreed to work on the proposal for development of 1200 MMCFD South-North Gas Pipeline, on a BOOT basis from Karachi to Lahore. An MOU has been already been signed between PCIGL and ISGS for the same.