Saturday, March 12, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to seek an international legal firm's opinion regarding the fate of the $3 billion Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) project after the West's sanctions on Moscow amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, The News reported.
Sources privy to the matter told the publication that the pipeline project is a joint venture between the two with Pakistan having 74% shares and Russia 26%.
They said: “So far there is a pause in talks between the officials, legal and corporate experts of both the Russian and Pakistan governments on a shareholding agreement for the project."
“Both sides earlier tried to finalise the shareholding agreement draft before the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Moscow, but there were certain thorny issues over which both sides failed to agree.
"The top leadership of both states wanted to sign the agreement during the visit. However, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Imran Khan renewed the commitment towards the pipeline project.”
Since Russia went into war with Ukraine and the US, European Union, and the UK have imposed economic sanctions on Russia; owing to which the petroleum division, they said, has stopped talks on shareholding agreement and decided to first seek the legal opinion of any international firm about the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia, on the PSGP project.
Confirming the news, an official from the Ministry of Energy said: "Yes, we have decided to seek an opinion from an international law firm to decide as to whether sanctions allow Pakistan to advance on the project or not."
He said Pakistan cannot afford to complete the PSGP project due to economic sanctions.
Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, managing director Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) and spokesman of Petroleum Division did not respond to any of the relevant queries sent.