Pakistan hopes for gas pipeline deal by 2006
LONDON: Pakistan and its neighbours will be able to decide by 2006 which of the three competing trans-national gas pipelines should go ahead first, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources secretary Ahmad Waqar said on Tuesday.
“Roughly within a year, maybe in the beginning of next year, we should be able to decide which pipeline is feasible,” said Waqar during a road show to lure investors to 20 oil and gas blocks. Pakistan and India, which depend on imported oil and gas, are considering three gas pipeline projects, from Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar, which are often called “pipedreams” because of delays caused by security concerns.
The pipelines on the drawing board since the early 1990s are expected to run through Pakistan into the giant market of neighbouring India and a recent thaw in bilateral relations has encouraged hopes the projects will finally be able to proceed. “We expect these pipelines to be laid by the time we are faced with shortages around 2010-2011,” Waqar said, adding that by that time Pakistan’s energy demand/supply gap could be as large as 20 million tonnes of oil equivalent a year. The country, which projects economic growth of seven percent this year, currently produces 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, meeting just 50 percent of its needs.
Waqar said that Pakistan would also decide on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in the fourth quarter of this year, with Qatar emerging like the most likely source. “It could be Oman, it could be Yemen, but the most likely candidate appears to be Qatar,” he said. reuters