Σάββατο, 13 Ιουνίου 2009

Gazprom takes part in Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Russian Gazprom has entered into negotiations with Iran and Pakistan to take a share in building a gas pipeline between the two countries, an Iranian official says. “Both we and Pakistan are talking with Gazprom and we have agreed that Gazprom can be a partner [to construct] the pipeline inside Pakistan,” Hojatollah Ghanimifard, the Iranian oil minister's special representative in the pipeline talks, told the Financial Times. The initial agreement of the $7.5B Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, also known as the Peace Pipeline, was signed in Tehran in May. Iran says that via the pipeline it will deliver eight billion cubic meters of natural gas to Pakistan annually. “I was in Russia, I had the pleasure of talking to high authorities in Gazprom and I proposed to them that this was in the interest of Pakistan and invited them to become involved,” Ghanimifard said, adding that the Pakistani portion of the pipeline would stretch about 900 kilometers. “They liked this idea and accepted. We are going to see each other trilaterally in Tehran,” he said. Ghanimifard emphasized that India still has an option to join the project, although the country has so far not been included in the gas pipeline project. “When you're talking about a long relationship that will last decades, we cannot say that even though they are out for a few years, they will be out forever,” he said. Meanwhile, a Russian newspaper cited a top Russian official as saying that for Moscow, the pipeline is a means to redirect Iranian gas from competing with Russian gas exports to Europe. "This project is advantageous to Moscow since its realization would carry Iranian gas toward South Asian markets, so that in the near future it would not compete with Russian gas to Europe," Kommersant quoted the government official as saying in May. Russian exports satisfy over one-quarter of Europe's gas demand, but the European Union has sought to reduce this reliance with the construction of the Nabucco pipeline that would pump Caspian Sea gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. The Iran-Pakistan pipeline could deprive the Nabucco project of one possible source for gas supplies.

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