ISLAMABAD: A Russian delegation Tuesday called on Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, and discussed the North South Gas Pipeline project. The delegation, led by Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Anatoli Tikhinov, was here for the 7th JCC session on pipeline project, a Petroleum Division press release said. While welcoming the delegation to Pakistan, Omar Ayub stressed the need for making the project transparent, financially viable and mutual benefit of the two countries.He termed the pipeline ‘a flagship project’ of cooperation between Pakistan and Russia particularly in the commercial and energy sphere. Nadeem Babar gave an overview of Pakistan’s Energy situation highlighting the infrastructure projects the current Government planned to undertake for ensuring supply and security of oil & gas in the country.He declared the North South Gas Pipeline ‘a stepping stone’ towards greater cooperation between Pakistan and Russia in the energy sector. He also welcomed Russian interest in the Exploration and Production sector of Pakistan including its planned auction of 18 blocks this month.The SAPM emphasized on transparency, financial viability of the pipeline and shared Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire to see the project’s successful execution.The Russia’s Deputy Minister thanked the Pakistani side for the extending gracious welcome to the delegation.He also termed the project an important milestone in bilateral relations between both the countries and conveyed Russia’s desire to expand relations with Pakistan in all fields including energy.He agreed that the project must be financially viable and to the benefit of the both countries.The minister hoped that such cooperation between the two countries would continue in the coming time.