Russia has voiced readiness to extend financial and technical assistance to Pakistan to complete its under-construction pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, media reports said.
The offer has been made by Russian Deputy Energy Minister Yury Sentyurin during talks between Pakistani and Russian energy officials in Islamabad, Islamabad-based English-language newspaper The News reported.
A Russian private joint stock company has shown willingness to provide technical and financial assistance for the mega project, the daily added.
Both sides have decided that Pakistan should prepare a draft agreement and then send it to Russia.
The Russian officials would then examine the draft agreement and make a decision on extending financial and technical assistance to Pakistan for the gas pipeline project.
The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his former Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries' shared border region in Iran's Southeastern city of Chabahar. The final construction phase of the IP pipeline was inaugurated on March 11.
The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran's Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.