Iran-Pak sign natural gas pipeline deal; India left out



Islamabad: Iran and Pakistan have signed a deal in Turkey paving the way for constructing the much-delayed natural gas pipeline that was originally envisaged to extend up to India.

The Inter-State Gas Systems, a semi-autonomous body that will take care of Pakistan's interests in the import of gas through the pipeline, and the National Iranian Oil Company signed the heads of agreement and an operational accord in Istanbul yesterday.

Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Syed Naveed Qamar said in a statement that India is currently not part of the deal.

However, he said the heads of agreement dealt with transporting gas meant for India through Pakistani territory if and when India decided to join the project.

Under the heads of agreement, Pakistan will have the right to charge transit fee for gas transported to India.

The pact also addresses the issue of transportation tariff, which will be worked out in line with international practices.

Pakistan has said the pipeline, which will connect Iran's South Pars gas field with Balochistan and Sindh provinces, is crucial to averting a growing energy crisis that is already causing severe electricity shortages.

PTI