It is hoped that the removal of economic sanctions on Iran will clear the way for Pakistan to pursue an ambitious gas pipeline for eventually importing up to US$2.5 billion worth of Iranian gas annually, says Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister.

This was stated by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while talking the Voice of America.

Financial assistance from China is also expected to assist Pakistan in the completion of its Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.

The CPEC, with a planned portfolio of projects totalling around United States dollars 46 billion, will link Gwadar, Khuzdar and other areas on way to Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar along its central route.

There have been security concerns over much of the plan, which relies on developing Gwadar – control of which was passed to a Chinese company in 2013. Ethnic Baloch rebels have in the past blown up numerous gas pipelines and trains and attacked Chinese engineers.

Back in May, Iran’s Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said the money has been trapped in a bank account under the US-led sanctions regime.

China had been the strongest contender for the Nawabshah-Gwadar pipeline in view of its major role in the development of the Gwadar Port and export processing zone.

He said the Iranian pipeline will eventually provide a peak of 750 million ft/d of gas once it is fully operational by 2020.

In an interview on Monday, he reminded that despite global pressure in the past, Pakistan did not withdraw from this project.