Russia has offered Pakistan liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavov has revealed, as the South Asian nation is facing more gas shortages in the near future.
The two countries discussed deepening bilateral ties, including in energy and trade, earlier this week when Lavrov met his Pakistani counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Kureishi. According to the top Russian diplomat, trade turnover between Russia and Pakistan significantly rose to hit a record $790 million last year, with Russian wheat exports contributing most to the growth.
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“We are interested in making this upward trend sustainable. To do this, we need to diversify our relations in this area,” Lavrov said during a joint news conference. He added that the construction of the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline, formerly known as the North-South project, could play an important role in this.
“There was a mutual interest in the supply of Russian LNG by Gazprom, Rosneft and Novatek. Appropriate proposals have been put forward. We are waiting for a response from our Pakistani partners,” the Russian minister added.
The construction of the 1,100km Pakistan Stream gas link is the flagship energy cooperation project between the two countries. Moscow and Islamabad reached an agreement on it in 2015. The pipeline, with an annual capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters of gas, will deliver regasified LNG from terminals in the south of the country to the north, from Karachi to Lahore. According to Lavrov, all remaining issues are expected to be resolved in the near future and the project will be launched without any delay.
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While Russia is aiming to triple its LNG production capacity by 2035 and boost its exports, Pakistan is one of newcomers in the LNG market and needs the super-chilled fuel. It cannot receive gas from Iran due to the threat of US sanctions, which previously forced Islamabad to abandon a joint gas pipeline deal with Tehran.
Pakistan currently receives most of its LNG from Qatar, but the nation may need more LNG soon. Pakistan has a gas shortfall of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, Oilprice reported, citing domestic energy authorities, and this figure is expected to double by 2025 and more than triple to 5.4 billion cubic feet per day by 2030.
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