Pakistan and Russia are set to ink agreements this week on laying an offshore gas pipeline and the North-South LNG pipeline – the 2 projects in which Moscow will pour an investment of over $10 billion, indicating a major shift in foreign policy of Islamabad, Trade Arabia reported on December 19, 2017.
«A Pakistani delegation will leave for Russia on December 20 to sign these deals in order to execute the 2 gas pipeline projects,» said a senior government official while talking to The Express Tribune.
Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) – a state-owned company established to handle gas import matters – is working on different gas pipeline projects and its managing director and the petroleum secretary will be part of the delegation.
ISGS is also working on the $10 billion Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline to connect South and Central Asia and construction work on the scheme in Pakistan will start in March next year.
Earlier, Pakistan and Russia had reached an understanding on signing the offshore gas pipeline deal during PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to Sochi, Russia. Now, during the upcoming trip, the 2 sides are poised to ink MoUs for the offshore pipeline and the North-South (Lahore-Karachi) LNG pipeline.
«Such massive business deals will open a new avenue for closer diplomatic ties between Russia and Pakistan,» the senior government official commented.
On the other hand, Pakistan and the US are going through a critical phase in their relations in the wake of President Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan, which proposes a vital role for India in this region.
According to the government official, after signing of the MoU for the offshore pipeline, work on feasibility study will begin in an attempt to assess viability of the project. Russia is even ready to finance the study.