China shelved its plan to be part of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline due to US intimidation and pressures of a Persian Gulf Arab country, an energy official said.
The source said that China had expressed interest in becoming a member of the IP project, but changed its stance later as the future of the venture looked uncertain in the face of influence from a Persian Gulf Arab country and threat of US sanctions, the Express Tribune reported.
Under an agreement between Tehran and Islamabad, Pakistan was to get 750 million cubic feet of gas per day (mcfd) from January 1, 2015. Later, the gas supply from Iran was to be increased to 1 billion cubic feet gas per day (bcfd). Now the import of gas under the IP project seems a non-starter. If Pakistan fails to meet its obligation, then after the deadline, it will have to pay to Iran the huge penalty of almost $200 million a month.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 781-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.