TEHRAN -  TheNation Monitoring -  Islamabad officials announced that the study phase for the construction of the Pakistani part of the multi-billion-dollar pipeline project which is due to bring Iran’s gas supplies to the energy-hungry Pakistan will be completed by mid-summer.

Speaking to Iran’s Fars News Agency on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Oil and Natural Resources Ejaz Chaudhry stated that the study phase of the pipeline project will be completed in his country by the end of July. “At present, the project to complete the pipeline has been given to a German company,” Chaudhry said, adding that $1.2 billion is needed for the construction of the 781-kilometre-long pipeline on the Pakistani side.

He added that Pakistan’s government will provide 51% of the needed budget and the remaining 49% will be financed by foreign companies interested in investment in the project.

Earlier this month, Islamabad officials reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to expedite its gas pipeline project with Iran despite the US pressures and warnings. Speaking at the Air University in the Pakistani province of Multan on Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said Islamabad will not give in to foreign pressures to abandon its joint gas pipeline project with Iran. Islamabad will make the decisions regarding the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline based on its own interests, Gilani added.The 2700-kilometre 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 declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meetings. 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.