08:32 GMT27 February 2020
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    Pakistani petroleum and natural resources minister said that Islamabad and Moscow are only a month away from signing a gas pipeline construction agreement, with a commercial deal to follow over the next few months.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova Islamabad and Moscow are only a month away from signing a gas pipeline construction agreement, with a commercial deal to follow over the next few months, the Pakistani petroleum and natural resources minister told Sputnik.

    RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russia's state technologies corporation Rostec, and Pakistani Inter State Gas System (ISGS) announced a project to build Pakistan's oil and gas infrastructure in December 2014. The project includes liquefied natural gas regasification terminals as well as construction of gas pipelines.

    "The government-to-government agreement will hopefully be within a month. Then there is a commercial agreement, which is soon to be negotiated. We hope to finalize everything within the next 3-4 months," Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in an interview.

    Abbasi said the 683-mile North South pipeline stretching from southern Pakistan's Karachi to Lahore in the country's northeast is a "substantial start" of Islamabad's cooperation with Moscow.

    "This is 100-percent a Russian project. It is being done on a build-own-operate-transfer basis," the minister told Sputnik, adding that Russia will also take part in tenders in the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline later this year.

    Rostec estimated in December 2014 that nearly $3 billion will be invested in the North South gas pipeline, which Abbasi asserted will also involve Iranian and Turkmen gas, over the next three years.

    TAPI is designed to transport 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually from gas-rich Turkmenistan starting in 2017.

    Pakistan is discussing deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the country with Gazprom's South-East Asian subsidiary, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told Sputnik.

    "They [the Russian government] have nominated Gazprom Singapore to deal with us for that. So on a government-to-government basis, we have negotiated with Gazprom Singapore for the supply of LNG to our facilities," Abbasi said after meeting his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak in Moscow Tuesday.

    In December 2014, Russia and Pakistan announced a project on the construction of gas pipelines and LNG regasification terminals in the South Asian country.

    Earlier this month, Pakistan launched its first LNG import terminal in the southern seaport of Karachi in a bid to counter power shortages in the country.

    Natural gas is liquified for transportation to long distances and must be regasified before being distributed further via pipelines.


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