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US reiterates opposition to Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Friday September 16, 2011 06:04:40 PM, IANS

Islamabad: The US has reiterated its opposition to the proposed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline that could eventually stretch to India, saying Islamabad should intensify efforts to develop its own hydrocarbon resources to avoid possible impact of US and UN sanctions against Iran.

The affirmation came during the two-day Pakistan-US energy dialogue that concluded here Thursday.

In effect, it was a triple whammy for Pakistan as the US did not commit itself - allegedly at India's behest - to financing the $11 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam that is intended to generate 4,500 MW of power, or to persuading American oil and gas companies to invest in Pakistan's gas exploration and development projects.

"Yes, we have failed to get the formal announcement by US authorities with regards the financial facility for Bhasha dam. We had high hopes of getting some concrete announcement from US side to this effect," The News Friday quoted a senior official who was part of the talks as saying.

"Another official, quoting some important US officials, confided to The News that India was vigorously lobbying against funding for Diamer-Bhasha Dam, forcing the US administration to link its funding with a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from New Delhi," the newspaper added.

"As if that was not enough, the US delegation... stiffened its opposition to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project now in the implementation phase and asked Islamabad to intensify its efforts to develop its own indigenous hydrocarbon resources to avoid possible impact of US and UN sanctions against Iran," Dawn reported of the talks.

The US delegation was led by Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual.rWater and Power Minister Naveed Qamar led the Pakistani delegation.

An official statement issued at the end of the fourth round of the energy dialogue said it "concluded with a reaffirmation from the US side for its commitment to help Pakistan in its endeavours to resolve the energy crises which is affecting the socio-economic progress of the country and the US offered its support to establishing a commercially viable and sustainable power sector in Pakistan".

"There are no quick fixes to this crisis, but the United States and international partners are willing to help. We will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to resolve this energy crisis," the US embassy quoted Pascual as saying.

During the dialogue, the US side highlighted its ongoing energy programmes for adding more than 900 MW of power to the Pakistani grid by 2012. These include construction and updating of three hydropower plants (Satpara, Gomal Zam and Tarbela) and three thermal power plants (Guddu, Muzaffargarh and Jamshoro).

"This extra energy will bring power to approximately 7 million people, eradicate 20 percent of Pakistan's existing power shortage, reduce annual oil imports by more than one million barrels and help store water for irrigation and flood control," the US side said.

Pakistan's daily demand for power is a little over 18,000 MW and the country faces a shortfall of some 5,000 MW.











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