Under a plan being discussed between Iran, Russia, and Pakistan, Russia has agreed to supply gas to Iran for the purpose of delivery to Pakistan via the Iranian pipelines.
Russians have also agreed to build pipelines in Pakistan that were supposed to be built by the Pakistani side of a 1995 gas supply contract with Iran.
Reports indicate that Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji discussed the issue in phone calls with senior Russian and Pakistani government officials earlier this week.
Russia’s contribution to the scheme comes as the country is trying to find new markets for natural gas supplies that were removed from the European markets because of Western sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
Iran is also keen to partner with Russia in supplying gas to Pakistan as the country could benefit financially from the project while increased gas supplies from Russia will help the country address potential gas shortages in its northern regions.
Under a proposed swap scheme, Iran will import gas from Russia either through Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan to consume the supplies in its northern regions while committing to deliver the same amount of gas on the border with Pakistan.
The old gas contract between Iran and Pakistan is a “take or pay” deal under which Islamabad is supposed to take the gas delivered on the border or pay its price.
That is why statements by Pakistani officials suggesting the country is not interested in receiving gas from Iran could not be substantive.
In fact, Pakistan will be able to address its acute energy crisis through gas supplied by Russia via Iran.
The revival of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal can also benefit India, a country that has refused to implement sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on Russia because of the war in Ukraine.
In fact, India and China have been receiving increased supplies of crude oil from Russia after Western sanctions were imposed on Moscow.
Iran has another option to buy Russian gas for domestic consumption in its north without committing to any swap delivery of the same amount to other countries.
That will enable Iran to meet the growing domestic demand for natural gas and increase its gas supplies for the purpose of exports to other countries.
Experts believe both scenarios could benefit Iran although some prefer the swap model because it will lead to more Russian contribution to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.endNewsMessage1