By William Walker
In a bid to help solve Pakistan’s energy deficiency and perhaps, as critics suggest, to help prime the international community into supporting the construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, Iran is finalising plans, which began in July, to export 10,000MW of electricity to its neighbour.
The huge quantity combines more than half of the country’s current production, and will take two years to obtain this height in production. An official from the Ministry of Water and Power claimed that a feasibility study on the first 1,000MW had been completed and work had already begun on a transmission line at the border.
Iran’s power supply is already linked with nearby Afghanistan, Iraq, Armenia, Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan and with its surplus production, it commands a respectable position in terms of energy production in a relatively unstable region. Pakistan’s dwindling energy consumption makes it an ideal target for Iran to offload some of its excess.
Critics argue that this is merely cushioning the international impact of the proposed gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan. American Vice President Hilary Clinton, during her tour of Pakistan last week, was brazen about the development, simply saying ‘Iran is a very difficult, rather dangerous neighbour of all countries whose borders meet with it. Apparently no prediction can be made about the internal political and economic situation in Iran.’
Whether this is a politically or economically motivated project remains to be seen, but it is apparent that Iran, who will also construct an oil refinery at Gwadar Port to provide oil in long term payment, stands to benefit the most from this apparent gesture of goodwill.