With the country which is way falling short of its energy requirements, a delay in major developmental projects can undoubtedly create havoc. Pakistani authorities have finally given a certain time line for the long anticipated gas pipeline project between Pakistan and Iran. It is expected to be completed by the year 2018 which was initially planned for deployment by the year 2014.

Minister for Petroleum and natural resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has announced recently while talking to media regarding the achievements of the recent government, shed some light on major developmental projects. He stressed that this leading project has eventually reached its completion but refrained from giving any further information.

Although the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, while talking to media reporters this spring clearly stated that Iranian authorities have already completed their part of the pipeline. The delay has been from their Pakistani counterparts to take the delivery of gas which was planned to be delivered by 2014.

The pipeline being launched in 2010 will span 1,800 kilometers (roughly 1,100 miles) from Iran to Pakistan. Through this project Pakistan is expecting to import 21.5 mcm/d of gas from Iran. Total investment in this project is oscillating at USD 2 billion.

A nation which has energy requirements way above its local supply is bound for an acute energy shortfall which is leading to a power cut of approximately 12 hours per day. Thus having no other option but to import oil, gas, iron and steel from Iran. This crisis is not new for Pakistanis but it seems that it has reached its pinnacle in the recent past with over 4,000 megawatts of electricity shortfall. This figure is highlighting that the country is only sufficient to meet 2/3 of its gas demand.

The authorities on the other hand are all tall claims with Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif stating that the power outages have been curtailed to 6-7 hours instead of 15 hours this summer. Talking to media he also specified that 10,400 megawatts of electricity would be included to the national grid and losses have been reduced to 24% thus saving PKR 10 billion of the national kitty.

Trade between Iran and Pakistan suffered lately falling from USD 1.32 billion in the year 2008-09 to as low as USD 432 million. This pipeline project seems to pave way in beefing up trade between the two countries as Iran plans to import textiles, surgical goods, sports goods and agricultural products while Pakistan is eyeing Iranian energy products in return.

image credit: dawn.com