A Chinese contractor is set to start work on a 700 km gas pipeline in Pakistan in the next two weeks, according to state officials.

The project was one of six approved in the past week, by Pakistan’s Executive Committee for the National Economic Council (Ecnec), for a total of Rs281 billion (US$2.68 billion).

As well as the pipeline itself, the Ecnec approved a project to construct a terminal to handle the liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the port of Gwadar, which will be imported from Iran. The pipeline will run from there to the town of Nawabshah, 700 km to the east.

An official from Pakistan’s ministry of petroleum said, “The LNG pipeline project will be completed and operational by June 2018,” adding, “If the cost of the two LNG terminals is included then the whole cost of the project will stand at $1.675 billion.”

On completion, it is anticipated that the pipeline will be extended to the Iranian border, to the west of Gwadar.

The project will be handled on a build-own-operate basis, by China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB), a subsidiary of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation.

Once operational, the pipeline will have the capacity to transport more than 55 million m3 of gas per day.

The LNG project was made possible by a commercial loan of Rs135 billion (US$1.3 billion) from the Export-Import Bank of China.

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