Iran-Pakistan pipeline project to get under way in March

“The ground breaking is going to be performed on March 11 onthe Pakistani side of border and we hope that the Presidents of thetwo countries will be present on the occasion,” a seniorPakistani official requesting anonymity told AFP.The date was revealed after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardariheld talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supremeleader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.He said the ceremony would mark the start on the Pakistani end ofthe 780-kilometer pipeline which is expected to cost $1.5billion.The pipeline on the Iranian side is said to have be almostcomplete. Iran boasts the second largest gas reserves in the world.Despite being strangled by a Western oil embargo that has seen itscrude exports halved in the past year, it currently produces up to600 million cubic meters of gas a day, almost all of which isconsumed domestically.  Turkey takes 90 percent of what Iranexports, while Turkmenistan takes around 10 percent, according toReuters.Pakistan is suffering from an energy crisis and has faced financialdifficulties with the project, amid threats of possible sanctionsdue to Iran’s controversial nuclear activities.”It’s in their best interests to avoid any sanctionableactivity, and we think that we provide and are providing… abetter way to meet their energy needs,” AFP has quoted US StateDepartment deputy acting spokesman Patrick Ventrell as saying onWednesday.Pakistan said it would pursue its gas pipeline project regardlessof the possible sanctions.

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Iran-Pakistan pipeline project to get under way in March

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