One minute Russia is talking about the potential for cooperation in mutual interests to help Washington discourage nuclear proliferation in Iran, while the next minute they are selling missile systems and assisting with nuclear technology. From the energy perspective, this blog has long argued that the most important strategy for Moscow is the maintainence of tensions between the United States and Iran in order to prevent the awakening of a sleeping gas giant. Further complicating the plot, today the Financial Times is reporting on Gazprom getting involved with Iran to help build a pipeline to Pakistan. Moral of the story: if Iran is going to increase its gas exports, then they had better go through Russian built pipes and away from their sphere of energy influence.
“Both we and Pakistan are talking with Gazprom and we have agreed that Gazprom can be a partner [to construct] the pipeline inside Pakistan,” Hojatollah Ghanimifard, vice-president for investment affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, told the Financial Times.
The proposed 2,600km gas pipeline would transport gas from Iran to Pakistan and India, providing them with 60m cubic metres of gas a day initially, eventually rising to 150m cu m a day.
The project, valued at$7.6bn, has been under discussion since 1994 but has been bedevilled bydelays, most recently because of disagreements between India andPakistan over transit fees. India has now walked away from the deal.But Mr Ghanimifard said the project was making progress.
“I wasin Russia, I had the pleasure of talking to high authorities in Gazpromand I proposed to them that this was in the interest of Pakistan andinvited them to become involved,” he said. He added the Pakistaniportion of the pipeline would stretch about 900 km.