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India and Pakistan hope to start construction of a multi-bln dollar natural gas pipeline from Iran in 2007 despite objections by the United States, AFP said.

India and Pakistan hope to start construction of a multi-bln dollar natural gas pipeline from Iran in 2007 despite objections by the United States, AFP said.

‘We don’t see any stumbling block. We are moving ahead… and the project will see the light of the day,’ Ahmad Waqar, secretary of Pakistan’s petroleum ministry was quoted as saying in New Delhi by The Times of India newspaper.

Waqar’s Indian counterpart S.C. Tripathi said that the construction of the project would start in 2007 for completion by 2010 if agreement is finalised as forecast by next May.

India has forecast that it would initially draw 60 mln cubic metresmln cubic yards) of gas from the pipeline, and increase the quantity to 90 mln cubic metres within two to three years, Tripathi said according to the Times of India.

Pakistan has estimated its initial demand at 30 mln cubic metres which would double by 2013, he told the newspaper.

The 2,600-kilometre (1,600-mile) pipeline for Iran’s Pars field is strongly opposed by the United States, which accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Under its Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, Washington has barred US companies from investing in Tehran’s oil and gas industry and said that foreign mln dollars in the sector would be denied business opportunities in the United States.

Negotiations for the pipeline began in 1994, but progress was stalled because of tensions between Pakistan and India, who have fought three wars since gaining independence in 1947 from Britain.

However, since January 2004, the two energy-starved countries have been engaged in a peace process that has led to expanded trade and cultural links.

Source : www.iranmania.com

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