Putin reiterates support for Pakistan Stream pipeline
Russia's president Vladimir Putin met Pakistan's premier Shehbaz Sharif on September 15 to discuss partnerships including the proposed Pakistan Stream gas pipeline that would bring regasified LNG from Karachi to the northeastern province of Punjab, Reuters reported on September 16.
The 1,100-km gas pipeline would link LNG terminals in Karachi's port in southern Pakistan with the northern city Lahore, plugging up widespread energy shortages across its route. An accord was first reached in 2015 to build the 12.4bn m3/ yr pipeline, also known as the North-South pipeline, and its backers say capacity could reach 16bn m3/yr as part of an envisaged second phase.
Putin's pledge came at the side lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where he has also held talks with Beijing in the last week. Initially, his government had been happy to bear the cost of Pakistan Stream — the initial outline deal stipulated Russia would put down 85% of project expenditure.
The revised deal agreed last year shifts that cost burden onto Pakistan, which is now expected to foot 74% of the bill. In return, Pakistan will hold a real majority stake for its investment from the outset, rather than ceding control for the first 25 years to Russia as originally planned — under a build, own and operate deal .
Now Putin says the pipe build is becoming a reality with sections of the infrastructure apparently already in place. The countries have also agreed in principle to form a special purpose company registered in Pakistan to spearhead the pipeline's development.