TEHRAN - An Iranian deputy oil minister called on India to join an under-construction pipeline projected to carry natural gas from Iran to Pakistan.
Ali Majedi, who is a deputy minister for international and commercial affairs, said Iran expects India to overcome its doubts and join the pipeline, previously known as Peace Pipeline, reported FARS news agency. “If India joins the pipeline, the interests of all three countries - Pakistan, India and Iran - will be guaranteed,” he said.
“Given the initial design of the Peace Pipeline, even China can join this pipeline,” he said. Energy-thirsty India has already voiced its interest in the pipeline, but it has been dragging its heels on joining the project due to security concerns over the section of the pipeline cutting through Pakistan.
Majedi said Iran has met its obligations regarding gas exports to Pakistan, adding: “Iran has heavily invested in this pipeline project and has constructed its own section of the pipeline.”
“Pakistan is required to construct pipeline to take delivery of gas from Iran, but it has taken to serious action to that effect,” said Majedi. Initially, a 2,700-kilometer pipeline was planned to be constructed for Iran to pump 60 mcm/d of natural gas to Pakistan and 90 mcm/d to India.
India backed out of the project in 2007, citing security concerns on the Pakistani territory. After that, Iran and Pakistan decided to go it alone. Pakistan which struggles with gas shortage losing 2 billion dollars each year mainly because it has not yet decided how to meet its gas needs. Imports from Iran, construction of TAPI and LNG imports are the main options the country can resort to in order to meet its gas needs.
Iran is expected to start exporting gas to Pakistan in 2014.