PAKISTAN and the Russian Federation have overcome another hurdle in the way of implementation of the strategically important North-South Gas Pipeline project, which has now been renamed as Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project (PSGPP) by amicably amending the Inter-Governmental Agreement to the satisfaction of the two sides. Under the amended agreement, Pakistan will have 74 percent equity in the project and Russia 26% and a Joint Venture Company would be set up to operate the gas pipeline.
The agreement is yet another indication of Pakistan-Russia relations entering into a new and vibrant phase, which is in line with aspirations of people of Pakistan who want closer and deeper cooperation with Russia in different spheres of life. The relations between the two countries made enormous progress during the last two decades but we have been slow in translating into reality the willingness on the part of Moscow to contribute towards progress and development of Pakistan. A case in point is the North-South Pipeline project, the agreement for which was signed in 2015 and as per original schedule the pipeline would have become operational by now. The pipeline has an important place in the overall energy scenario of Pakistan as it is designed to carry gas from LNG terminal from Karachi to Lahore and willingness of Russia to finance 100% cost of the project on Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis offered an opportunity for its early completion but we allowed irritants to crop up. Anyhow, now that the country has enough liquidity after the GIDC verdict by the Supreme Court, the Government acted wisely in getting the agreement amended in the best interest of the country. But more important is its expeditious completion in view of its economic benefits and timelines in this regard must be religiously followed.