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U.S. reaffirms commitment to address Pakistan's energy crisis – SUCH TV

The United States on Thursday once again reiterated its support for Pakistan’s energy woes saying that Washington “prioritises” helping Islamabad in addressing its energy shortage.

“Helping Pakistan address its energy shortage crisis is a priority for the US,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said while responding to a question pertaining to the country’s assistance to Pakistan in meeting the energy needs in light of Washington’s opposition to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline.

The spokesperson’s remarks came as Washington has time again voiced its opposition to the bilateral gas pipeline agreement between Islamabad and Tehran and has threatened to impose sanctions for the completion of project which has been facing a delay of nearly 10 years as it was originally set to be completed in 2015.

However, due to the prevailing economic crises, driven by a weakening local currency and depleting foreign exchange reserves, which have resulted in soaring utility bills and worsening energy shortage, Islamabad is running out of options to meet its increasing energy needs.

Furthermore, the country also risks being awarded a $18 billion penalty for its failure to uphold its end of the agreement i.e., completion of the 781-kilometre pipeline from the Iranian border to Nawabshah followed by consumption of 750 million cubic feet of gas per day.

The project has been facing delays since 2014. In January, Iran issued a third notice to Pakistan, renewing its intention to move the arbitration court for its failure to lay down the pipeline in its territory.

On Monday, Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik said that Islamabad would vigorously contest its case to seek exemption from “US sanctions by presenting technical and political arguments”.

Elaborating on the US support for Pakistan in meeting its energy needs, Miller said: “We have supported the addition of approximately 4,000 megawatts of clean energy capacity in Pakistan.”

“Our projects have dramatically increased the nation’s electricity capacity, today powering the homes of millions of Pakistanis.

“Through the United States-Pakistan Green Alliance, a transformative initiative between our two countries are working together to address today’s most pressing environmental challenges, especially around water management, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy,” the spokesperson added.

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