Pakistan signs IPI project MoU with Gazprom
* Aziz for more economic relations with Russia
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shuakat Aziz on Friday said that Gazprom, a Russian gas company with 20 percent shares in global gas production, will heavily invest in Pakistan.
Talking to reporters after the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gazprom, the prime minister said the government would offer company blocks to Gazprom on a fast-track basis for oil and gas exploration. He said there were three areas under the MoU in which the Russian gas company would cooperate. These include research and the development of gas fields, underground gas storage systems and transnational gas pipelines.
Regarding the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, Mr Aziz said that Pakistan was in touch with Iran and would soon appoint a financial adviser for the project. He said Pakistan wanted more economic relations with Russia and that cooperation in the oil and gas sector would help strengthen these economic bonds, owing to which political relations would also improve.
According to the MoU, Gazprom and Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources have agreed to cooperate in research and development of gas fields, the use of natural gas as fuel for converted diesel engines, the development and operation of underground gas storage systems, the privatisation of oil and gas companies in Pakistan, the development and operation of transnational gas pipelines and training facilities in Russia for Pakistani experts from the oil and gas sector.The MoU says that both sides will set up a coordination committee and working groups within a month to discuss the steps to be taken by each party.