Pakistan, Russia ink MoU to conduct feasibility study for undersea gas pipeline

The FO spokesman said both the countries had finalized several proposals in the energy sector which included laying of the North-South Gas Pipeline, LNG import from Russia, installation of air-mix plant and setting up a 600MW combined cycled power plant

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have finally signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) pertaining to the initiation of a feasibility study for the planned undersea gas pipeline.

The Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal while speaking during the weekly media briefing shared the ministries of the energy of Pakistan and Russian Federation have concluded the signing of an MOU for conducting a feasibility study for execution of an undersea gas pipeline project, reported Dawn.

Mr Faisal said the aim of the MoU was to assist in giving support for the realization of the project and contingent on the results of the feasibility study, both sides will reach a decision for its future.

He added Russia had expressed keenness on increasing energy cooperation with Pakistan as ties between the two countries continue to strengthen.

The FO spokesman said both the countries had finalized several proposals in the energy sector which included laying of the North-South Gas Pipeline, LNG import from Russia, installation of air-mix plant and setting up a 600MW combined cycled power plant.

However, in response to a query whether this new project would replace the stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project Mr Faisal reiterated the IP gas pipeline was a separate project.

Last week, it was reported Pakistan and Russia were all set to formally ink a billion-dollar energy deal for the construction of an offshore gas pipeline and the supply of gas to Pakistan as Russia wants to export gas to South Asian countries.

Official sources at Petroleum Division on terms of anonymity had informed following a go-ahead by the former federal cabinet under the chairmanship of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to formally sign agreement with Russia for the supply of gas and construction of an offshore gas pipeline, Pakistan’s ambassador to Russia would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Moscow this past Monday.

Sources said after the signing of MoU, Russia’s gas titan Gazprom will assess the viability of the project as Pakistan’s federal cabinet has also allowed the Gazprom to conduct a feasibility study at its own cost and risk. Russia has already shown willingness to finance the feasibility study of the project and nominated Gazprom to implement the project, said sources.

“However, after conducting the feasibility study, the final cost of the gas supply project will be assessed by Gazprom,” said sources.

Sources also said that Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) – a state-owned company of Pakistan established to handle gas import projects has been nominated by Pakistan to execute the offshore pipeline project along with Russian Gazprom.