Gas supplies from a pipeline blown up by tribal militants in Pakistan s troubled Baluchistan province are expected to resume to a U S and British-owned power plant by tomorrow, a company official said.

Gas supplies from a pipeline blown up by tribal militants in Pakistan’s troubled Baluchistan province are expected to resume to a U S and British-owned power plant by tomorrow, a company official said.

Two blasts early yesterday damaged a 24-inch diameter pipeline in the Dera Murad Jamali area, about 220 km (140 miles) southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, cutting off the gas supply to the 586-megawatt Uch power plant.

The main shareholders of the Uch plant are Britain’s International Power Plc, and U S firms Tenaska Inc and GE Capital.

It sells electricity to Pakistan’s state-run Water and Power Development Authority.

A spokesman for the power plant, Tariq Jamali, said repairs were being carried out by the state-run Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd.

”It will be done by tomorrow evening or night,” he said.

Jamali said he understood a 40-50 foot section of pipeline needed to be repaired or replaced.

Tribal militants seeking greater autonomy for Baluchistan and control over its natural resources have frequently targeted gas facilities in the province, which is home to the Sui fields, Pakistan’s main natural gas source.

The latest attack came after Pakistan said on Tuesday it would sell a controlling 51 percent stake in Sui Southern Gas Co, the country’s second gas distribution firm.

Last month, it put up for sale a 51 per cent stake in Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, the largest distribution firm.

The Pakistani military launched a major crackdown against militants in Baluchistan after a rocket attack on December 14 during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf.

Baluch nationalists say almost 200 people have been killed in the crackdown. The government has not commented on overall casualties.

Source : www.newkerala.com