With Iran coming out of decades-long global economic isolation, China has offered Pakistan that it was willing to finance the un-built portion of a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline project.
Officials told The Express Tribune that the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) – currently engaged with the $1.4 billion Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG terminal and pipeline project – was keen to work on the remaining portion of the gas pipeline from Gwadar to the Iranian border to implement the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
China was providing 85% of the total financing for the LNG pipeline project and wanted to emulate the same model for building the remaining portion of the pipeline from Gwadar up to the Iranian border.
The IP gas pipeline project had been stalled due to international curbs against Tehran. But soon after lifting of the sanctions, the United States had imposed certain sanctions against Tehran that were hindering the implementation of the IP gas pipeline project.
Officials said China had also expressed its desire to work on the remaining portion of the 80km pipeline from Gwadar to connect it with the Iranian border. China was lobbying to award the contract of this portion as per the cost decided for the Gwadar LNG pipeline.
A senior government official said Pakistan was working on LNG import projects but LNG supply was not a secured source because in case of war, this supply source could be halted.
He said this was the reason why the IP project was considered to be an essential as well as strategic project for Pakistan.