Pakistan and Russia sign gas pipeline agreement

Members of the Armed Forces Band of Pakistan hold Russian and Pakistan national flags during the "Spasskaya Tower" International Military Orchestra Music Festival at the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. (File photo: AFP)

Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement on Friday to build a gas pipeline stretching hundreds of kilometers from Karachi on the Arabian Sea to the eastern city of Lahore.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Pakistan Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi signed the agreement at a ceremony witnessed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and broadcast live.

Officials said the North-South gas pipeline project would be built by Russian company RT Global Resources -- a part of Russian state corporation Rostec.

The 1,100km pipeline, with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters per year, will connect liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Karachi with those in Lahore.

Russia is to invest about $2 billion in the pipeline and its first phase is expected to be completed by December 2017, a senior government official told AFP.

Russia has long been the largest supplier of weaponry to Pakistan's nuclear-armed arch rival India, which is the world's top arms buyer. But now Moscow appears to be pivoting towards Islamabad as New Delhi becomes closer allies with Washington.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47