ISLAMABAD: Even as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s plane took him to Teheran yesterday, where he was to discuss the implementation of a financing plan for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, US officials in Islamabad planned to goad their Pakistani counterparts towards pursuing energy import projects that do not involve the sanctioned Iranian regime.
The Pakistan-US Energy Working Group has a lot on its plate. When it meets, senior officials from both countries will hold lengthy negotiations on cooperation in the energy sector: including the multibillion dollar Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, potential LNG import projects, and the oft-delayed Diamer Bhasha Dam. Power sector reforms will also be among the top issues taken up in the meeting.
According to a copy of the agenda of the meeting, petroleum ministry officials will update the US on the energy supply and demand situation, the distribution of the fuel mix, the climate of investment for US energy companies interested in the country, and progress on the TAPI gas pipeline project. A petroleum ministry official said that Pakistan will seek assistance for the TAPI gas pipeline project from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).