JNN 18 Feb 2012 Islamabad : Iran and Pakistan have agreed to invest $718 million to establish a power transmission line through which Iran will export electricity to its eastern neighbor, Energy Minister Majid Namjou announced on Saturday. Pakistani Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has once again reiterated Islamabad’s resolve to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline on time despite pressures from the US, Press reports.
Some $500 million will probably be taken out of Iran’s National Development Fund to finance the project, Namjou told Mehr news agency.
Pakistani President Asif Zardari in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Islamabad on Friday reiterated commitment for expeditious implementation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, 1,000MW electricity transmission line and 100MW Gwadar power supply.
Zardari also allayed Iranian apprehensions about the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and reiterated commitment to resist U.S. pressure for abandoning it. He was firm that work on the project would be expedited to complete it by 2015.
Iran and Pakistan have negotiated on boosting Iranian electricity exports to the neighboring country by over 10 folds to reach 4,000 megawatts (MW) per day.
Currently, Iran exports some 35MW of electricity to Pakistan on the daily basis, according to Mehr news agency.
By the next three years, the country will increase the electricity exports to Pakistan by 1,000 megawatts, Namjou said earlier this month.
Deputy Energy Minister Mohammad Behzad has said that Iran’s power exports are expected to reach a mark of $1billion in the current Iranian year which ends on March 19.
Iran’s electricity network is connected into the power grids of seven neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Speaking to reporters in Karachi on Sunday, Gilani said “, we will definitely go ahead with the project.”
He made the remarks following the visit of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Islamabad for trilateral talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal, which was signed in June 2010, aims to export a daily volume of up to 21 million cubic meters of natural gas to Pakistan.
Last month, the International Herald Tribune reported that the US was trying to lure Islamabad away from the gas pipeline project by offering cheaper gas to the country.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Islamabad would not yield to any foreign pressure against its national interests, given the independent policies of Pakistan.
The maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline, which runs over 900 km on Iran’s soil from Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, is said to stand at 110 million cubic meters.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
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