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News number: 8805300885

20:00 | 2009-08-21

Economy

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Iran, Pakistan to Confer on Gas Pipeline Technical Issues

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian and Pakistani experts are slated to discuss technical issues of a gas deal for supplying Iran's rich gas reserves to the energy-hungry south-Asian nation through a long-waited multi-billion-dollar pipeline, a senior Iranian oil official announced on Friday.



"Ways of transferring Iran's gas and implementing technical issues will be discussed in a meeting to be held in Islamabad within the next 2 weeks," Iran's special envoy to the pipeline talks Hojjatollah Ghanimifard said.

He also underlined that "the final agreements held in this regard will be put into effect" during the meeting.

Ghanimifard, who is also deputy head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for Investment, said that following the endorsement of the agreement, the two sides agreed over a 3-month deadline to review and announce the results of their studies over the deal.

He further rejected that the Pakistani side is wasting the time, saying that Islamabad has not embarked on any unusual act in violation of the regulations envisioned in the agreement.

The gas pipeline deal was signed by Iranian and Pakistani officials in Istanbul, Turkey in May.

The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. Last year Iran and Pakistan then declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in meetings.

In a major breakthrough on March 20, the Pakistani government approved Iran's proposed pricing formula for gas supplies to the South Asian nation.

According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran's Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.

The gas will be supplied from the South Pars field. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be 22 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum, which is expected to be later raised to 55 billion cubic meters. It is expected to cost $7.4 billion.