BISHKEK (TCA) — Russia is reportedly considering a project to export natural gas to Pakistan and India through Iran in an ambitious project that would involve laying an offshore pipeline, Iran’s PressTV news agency reported on October 31.
Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reported that Russia was proceeding with the project out of concerns that it could lose Europe’s gas market as a result of disputes with the United States and the European Union.
It quoted an unnamed senior Russian official as saying that the pipeline would be projected to pass through Pakistan’s Gwadar Port. However, the technicalities of the project were not specified.
“Russia holds huge gas deposits in Iran and has offered Pakistan and India gas exports by laying an offshore pipeline that will pass through Gwadar Port,” the official was quoted as saying.
“Russia is even ready to finance feasibility study on viability of the offshore pipeline,” the official said, adding the plan was being discussed with Russian authorities.
The official revealed that India was also interested in purchasing gas from Russia through the offshore pipeline from Iran via Gwadar, believing it was a safe way for energy import, the Express Tribune added.
India has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia for gas import. Separately, Pakistan and Russia have recently inked a MoU for gas supply under an inter-governmental agreement, the Pakistani newspaper added.
Iran had been negotiating with Pakistan for over a decade to export natural gas to Pakistan and on to India through an onshore pipeline. India eventually withdrew from the project in a move seen as a result of US pressure. Also, talks with Pakistan failed to bear fruits over disputes on pricing and other related technicalities.