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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) of Pakistan and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation held first Russia-Pakistan Technical Committee meeting from 16th to 18th November 2020 in Islamabad on mutual cooperation for the development of North South Gas Pipeline Project.

The project is a flagship strategic venture between the institutions of Pakistan and Russia, which shall strengthen the long-term bilateral ties between Pakistan and Russian Federation through people-to-people contact.

The project will begin a new era of economic cooperation between Pakistan and Russian Federation.

The Russian delegation comprised representatives from the Ministry of Energy of Russian Federation, Embassy of Russian Federation in Pakistan, and Russian companies and corporations.

The Pakistani side included representation from the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Law and Justice Division, and Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited. The talks were also attended by Minister for Energy and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum.

The discussions were aimed at finalising the broad contours and parameters of the project involving construction of a high pressure gas transmission pipeline from Port Qasim, Karachi to Kasur (Punjab) for transportation of RLNG towards northern side of the country in order to fulfill the gas shortage emanating from growing gas demands of industrial and domestic consumers.

The recent developments after the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the matter of GIDC and availability of GIDC funds for project development were a key consideration in the process.

To better reflect the close bilateral ties and strengthened cooperation of Pakistan and Russian Federation for the development of project, the project has been renamed from “North South Gas Pipeline Project” to “Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (“PSGP”) Project”.

Gas for the project will be sourced through existing and new LNG terminals at Port Qasim, Karachi.

While giving the concluding remarks at session, Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Energy lauded the Technical Committees from both sides for finalisation of the Protocol to the Inter-Governmental Agreement for the expeditious implementation of the North-South Gas Pipeline Project. He said that the Government of Pakistan envisages this as a first step towards the establishment of a strong bilateral relationship and strategic ties towards the Russian Federation.

The minister voiced a hope that this project would benefit both the countries and such cooperation between the two countries would continue in the coming time.

In his closing remarks, Nadeem Babar said that the North South Gas Pipeline was ‘a stepping stone’ towards greater cooperation between Pakistan and Russia in the energy sector.

The SAPM said that Pakistan was fully committed for an early realisation of this key project and looked forward to working with the Russian Federation in an efficient manner.

He shared Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire to see the project’s successful execution.

Pakistan and Russia are keenly interested to invest in the project and embark upon its timely, cost effective and successful implementation for the benefit of the people of Pakistan, while ensuring optimum gas tariff.

Both sides affirmed maximum utilisation of Russian and Pakistan materials, equipment and resources with an aim to enhance technical and operational capacity of Pakistani companies and human resource through mutual working and training.

Both sides agreed to sign a protocol for amendment in the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) earlier signed in 2015 between both the governments to reflect the revised implementation structure of the project after requisite approvals from respective governments.

The parties agreed in principle to implement the project through a special purpose company to be incorporated in Pakistan by Pakistan and Russian parties, wherein, Pakistan will have the majority shareholding.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020