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Energy-starved Pakistan is seeking sanction-free Iranian gas, says Musadik Malik

  • Petroleum minister stresses that Pakistan is a 'poor country' and cannot afford sanctions
Published May 22, 2024

Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik said Pakistan is seeking access to Iranian gas, but cautioned that Islamabad is not in a position to face international sanctions.

“Our position is very clear – we would like to have Iranian gas, but we want to come up with a mechanism by which we don’t face any sanctions,” Musadik said while addressing the Pakistan Energy Symposium in Islamabad on Wednesday.

“We are a poor country and cannot afford any sanctions.

“By the same token many countries have gotten waivers and extensions,” he said, citing the example of Turkiye, Iraq, and Azerbaijan.

Iran, Pakistan seek ways to complete gas pipeline project

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal, signed in 2010, envisaged the supply of 750 million to a billion cubic feet per day of natural gas for 25 years from Iran’s South Pars gas field to Pakistan.

The pipeline was to stretch over 1,900 kilometres (1,180 miles) - 1,150 km within Iran and 781 km within Pakistan.

Tehran says it has already invested $2 billion to construct the pipeline on its side of the border, making it ready to export.

Spotlight: Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and some key facts

However, Pakistan, which remains in dire need for cheap gas with its own reserves dwindling fast, did not begin construction and shortly after the deal said the project was off the table for the time being, citing international sanctions on Iran as the reason.

Addressing the symposium, Malik said the government has come up with multiple policies to enhance indigenous production of petroleum products including gas and crude oil.

“Just the growth of population alone tells you how much energy we need,” he said. “For every 1% growth in GDP, you need 1.5% growth in energy.”

IP gas line project: MoFA asks PD to move forward

He said the yearly import of oil and gas imports amounting to $18-24 billion is not sustainable for a country like Pakistan.

Malik said the government intends to increase its indigenous production of oil and gas, for which it had put out blocks for bidding. “The government is trying to attract global players in the exploration activities,” he said.

“Pakistan is open for business and the authorities remain committed to completely digitise the regulatory process in order to make it completely transparent,” he added.

Malik said Pakistan is also pushing for TAPI gas pipeline project saying

“We are championing TAPI with the Turkmenistan government. We are trying to work around the country and have come up with various value propositions,” he said.

The operationalisation of TAPI will provide Pakistan access to a less expensive, continuous stream of gas, the minister said.

The minister’s remarks come at a time when Pakistan faces runaway inflation that has only shown signs of slight deceleration in recent months. The headline inflation figure hit a record high in May last year, triggering the country’s central bank to raise the key interest rate further.

The country is currently engaged in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a 24th bailout programme, but analysts warn that the bigger, longer facility will come at the cost of several growth-slowing measures.


200 characters
hooman May 22, 2024 04:58pm
If wishes were horses...
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KU May 22, 2024 06:29pm
Here's a hint for the minister, ask the US about the mysterious deal of importing gas from Iran to Iraq. Where's this gas going?
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Love Your Country May 22, 2024 07:02pm
The minister would be well advised to take lessons on choice of words.
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sahn May 22, 2024 07:14pm
“We are a poor country and cannot afford any sanctions" Pakistan is not a poor country instead run by inefficient and short sighted people making a country having rich resources weaker day by day....
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Doc Vader May 22, 2024 07:22pm
If only our rulers were not slaves
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