ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that supply of gas to Pakistan from Iran would be possible within two years.

Talking to BBC on Wednesday, Abbasi said Islamabad would kick off construction work on Pak-Iran gas pipeline project in October following the signing of a historic nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

He said as per the agreement, construction work is due to be completed within 30 months but the government is trying its level best to complete it in two years.

“Islamabad has linked the project with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, for which funds have been provided and Chinese companies are ready to start work.”

He hoped that Iran would also complete 250 km pipeline on its soil in the same time. He said that after completion of this project, more agreements of pipelines could be signed with Tehran.

To a query, Abbasi said that Islamabad would re-negotiate gas tariff with Tehran.

“As per a clause of the agreement, gas tariff can be re-negotiated one year before the gas supply resumes. So, we intent to make use of this clause for re-negotiating gas tariff,” he said.

To a query regarding India’s participation in the project, the minister said Pakistan has no objection but New Delhi has to lay-down a separate pipeline for its use.

India was part of the pact when it was signed but New Delhi succumbed to international pressure and left the deal.

Launched in 2010, the project envisages the creation of 1,800 kilometre (1,100 mile) pipeline from Iran to Pakistan, which has for years been blighted by an energy crisis that has stunted its economic growth.

Iran completed its part of the project in 2013, but Pakistan put construction on hold citing the US and European sanctions on Tehran linked to its nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is set to verify Iran has implemented its commitments in December, paving the way for sanctions to be lifted from the start of next year.

“A lot of issues that have built up over the years will be resolved, especially the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, where we have a contractual obligation to buy the gas and they have the obligation to deliver the gas but that has been hit by the sanctions,” Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said.

“Now hopefully, as the sanctions are removed, it will facilitate us in addressing our energy needs and also meet the contractual obligation,” Abbasi said added.”

He further said that projects worth Rs 1,000 billion are underway for completion of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and LNG smart gas projects. He said a decision has been taken to postpone the recovery of cess for three months after which further action would be decided by the concerned committee of the Parliament.

Pakistan’s key ally China is currently financing the construction of a gas pipeline from the southern town of Nawabshah to the deepwater port of Gwadar, not far from Iran.

Once that is built, Pakistan will only have to build another 80 kilometres of pipeline to link up to Iran, and could eventually extend the project as far as its northern border with China, said Abbasi.