ISLAMABAD - United States has said that energy crisis in Pakistan has reached a critical stage and the government of Pakistan needs to expedite its efforts for the exploration of international options particularly the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gap pipeline.
“The TAPI gas pipeline is viable option for Pakistan and Washington positively favours this long-term project as it would leave positive and durable economic impacts in the region as well as would increase closer interaction between the regional states,” said Sara M. Baren, the US Consular on Economic Affairs in Pakistan, while giving an exclusive interview to Nawa-i-Waqt here on Sunday.
US Embassy Press Officer Steve M. Canstin was also present on the occasion.
Sara said that the natural gas tariffs in Pakistan are very cheap; the LNG import from Qatar is a good option and Pakistan should opt for this option.
While talking about Iran, she explained that the American policy about is very much clear to every one. “There are some reports of dialogue between US and Iran, however, this is long process.”
She also said that Washington has strong reservations about the quality, price as well as supply of Iran gas to other regional states and added the Iran gasline project with Pakis is not credible.
To a question about level of US cooperation with Pakistan, Sara revealed that presently Washington in close collaboration with Islamabad is working on a number of energy projects.
“As many as 1000MW have been added to the national grid of Pakistan since the extensive cooperation between Washington and Islamabad,” she explained.
In Pakistan, a number of US companies are working on various hydel projects having a capacity of 50MW each and for this purpose the American Overseas Investment Corporation is extending cooperation.
While talking about the Pakistani government’s initiatives towards renewable energy resources exploration, the US consular remarked that Islamabad has unveiled tariffs for wind energy, which is good progress towards promoting alternative energy in the country.
She suggested the government to also devise its policy towards solar energy sector, as it would make road for foreign investment companies working on solar energy.
She mentioned that Pakistan is a big market for foreign investment, however, security in the country is a major issues for US investment companies.
“Under the Kerry Lugar Bill, Pakistan is getting over one billion dollars annually from US - $800 million for civil affairs while about $300 million are for security operation,” she said adding this this about $7 billion initiative would continue for over five years.
About the Universal Support Fund (USF), the US diplomat said that under this head about 10 billion dollars have so far been given to Pakistan. “The last installment under the USF was given in October last, however, the next installment would be issued in near future,” she said.
To a question about various water reservoirs, Sara said that her country is in close working relationship with Pakistan. In this regard, she mentioned Gomal Zam Dam saying more cooperation is being extended in the case of Satpara Dam. “Similarly, we have extended cooperation in the feasibility study for Diamir Bhasha Dam. It’s a big project and we will provide further assistance for it in addition to cooperation in the construction of the reservoir.”
When questioned about the performance of the PML-N government in Pakistan, the US diplomat said that it is the assignment of the people of Pakistan, however, it’s a good omen that power has been transferred from a civilian government to a civilian government.
About the US role in devising the IMF policies especially towards the third world countries including Pakistan, she rejected the notion saying Washington does not opt for political use of this world financial platform.
She remarked that Pakistan surrounded by a number of big trade markets and Pakistan companies should tap this potential by securing access to them.
She welcomed the establishment of Pak-China Economic Corridor saying it is major development with reference to Pakistan’s growing trade needs.