ISLAMABAD - Reiterating Pakistan’s stance to complete the IP gas pipeline project at any cost, Minister for petroleum and natural resources Shahid Khakan Abbasi on Thursday said a bilateral working group of two countries (Iran & Pakistan) has been formed which would formulate the modalities within two months to materialise the project on fast track basis.

He said this while speaking at a press conference held here in the premises of the ministry of petroleum & natural resources. The minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi also announced that gas tariff for all categories of consumers would be increased with start of New Year (1st January 2014) and there would be CNG closure for one and half month in the province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.

Giving details of the recent visit of a high-level delegation of Pakistan headed by petroleum minister to Iran and Qatar, Shahid Khakan Abbasi said that some problems are being faced in the Iran Gas Pipeline Project but we are working to overcome them. So far Iran has refused to give $500 million to construct the IP gasline inside Pakistan’s territory.

“If Iran agrees to give $500 million to construct the IP gasline inside Pakistan’s territory then the construction project will have to be given to an Iranian company whose rates submitted in bid for the construction of gas pipeline was higher and the project cost would eventually go up heavily, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said.

About the roles and responsibilities of the bilateral working group, the central petroleum minister told that this group would devise modalities to materialise the IP gas project on fast track basis and to resolve the minor differences involve in the construction of gas pipeline in Pakistan’s side.

And, this group will also see the matter pertaining to give extension in the already agreed deadline of December 2014 for the first flow of Iranian gas to Pakistan. Similarly, this working group will help and assist both countries to review the tariff of IP gasline project.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has further informed that Qatar has agreed to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan and supply of 400mmcfd of Qatari LNG would start by November 2014. 

He said Engro Vopek will construct LNG terminal with a capacity of 690mmcfd and the government will import 400mmcfd while any one including CNG sector can bring LNG to Pakistan to meet the gas demands.  He also said that Pakistan could annually save $1.25 billion by providing LNG to the power sector. At present the gas demands stands at 8bcfd while supply is limited to 4bcfd. First time in the history of country, off shore drilling would start in March 2014, which is expected to bear fruit.