Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Power and Petroleum, Tabish Gauhar has termed new Pakistan Stream gas pipeline project critical to the country’s energy supply ecosystem. In a tweet on Wednesday, the SAPM said, “A recently signed protocol to the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Russia is a step forward.” He further said, “Our local companies (SNGPL, SSGC, PAPCO) are also working on a complementary/alternative proposal to expedite construction and lower total project cost.” Earlier last week, Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov said that construction works on the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline project will be completed as early as 2025 with sustained financing. “If it goes well with funding issues, we expect the project to be fully implemented in 2025,” the minister told journalists on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Shulginov said that Russian companies are in charge of the construction of the pipeline, while their Pakistani partners are responsible for the gas and for building a regasification terminal. In late May, the two countries signed a deal on building a major gas pipeline linking the Pakistani southern port of Karachi and another port city, Gwadar, to power plants and industrial hubs in Pakistan’s northern region of Punjab. Spanning over 683 miles (1,100 kilometres), the pipeline is expected to have a discharge capacity of up to 12.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, according to the Russian Energy Ministry. Under the terms of the agreement, Pakistan would reportedly hold a 74 percent stake in the pipeline operator while Russia would own the remaining 26 percent. The initial deal to build the pipeline was clinched back in 2015. “The Pakistan Stream remains a flagship project in bilateral cooperation between Russia and Pakistan and both nations give priority to this issue,” Shulginov said.