Teetering on the brink of an economic crisis, Islamabad has reached out to Iran for assistance in raising the funds needed to finance its segment of a much-talked-about natural gas pipeline that Pakistan is still intent on pursuing, despite mounting US-led pressure to abandon it. Iran maintains it has already built most of its segment of the pipeline – a 650-mile leg from Assaluyeh on Iran’s south coast, to its border with Pakistan, whereas Pakistan has faced repeated problems progressing with its side of the project, primarily down to a lack of funding.

Islamabad began construction work on its leg of the line – from the border to Nawabshah in the east – in March this year (MEES, 15 March), but has made little to no progress since, MEES learns. Under the terms of a gas sales agreement between the two countries, Iran is supposed to begin supplying Pakistan with 750mn cfd of gas from 2014 for a period of 25 years at a price of $13/mn BTU, according to Investment Bank Credit Suisse. This takes into account all transportation costs. (CONTINUED - 634 WORDS)