MULTAN: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said the TAPI pipeline would be completed by 2019.

“Work on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline and TAPI projects were heading forward with a rapid pace and the TAPI pipeline, which was a project of 20 to 25 billion dollars, would be completed by 2019,” Abbasi said.

Speaking at the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the minister said import of LNG was one way to resolve the gas shortage crisis.

He said the government was constructing five terminals for this purpose. “LNG supply had added 40 per cent gas to the main distribution system. Three fertiliser factories, which had earlier been closed down due to shortage of gas, had restarted production.”

Earlier, the four nations that are part of the $10-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project signed an initial investment agreement, a move that will clear the way for updating the feasibility study and finalising the pipeline route in Afghanistan.

The agreement was inked by representatives of the four nations and the Tapi Pipeline Project Company in Istanbul last month.

They had already registered the company in November 2014 in which Afghanistan, Pakistan and India would have 5% shareholding each and the remaining 85% stake would be held by Turkmenistan.

The investment agreement pertains to the 5% shareholding of each of the three gas-importing countries, which means an initial investment of around $200 million.

“We have initialed an investment agreement in Istanbul and the final deal will be signed soon,” Interstate Gas Systems Managing Director Mobin Saulat told The Express Tribune.

"Pakistan would contribute 5% of the financing for different activities of the project," he said.