Russia offers $500m for electricity import project ISLAMABAD: Russia has offered an investment of $500 million in establishing a transmission system for the Central Asia South Asia 1,000-megawatt (CASA-1,000) power import project, which will bring electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The offer came in a meeting of a six-member Russian delegation, headed by State Secretary and Deputy Energy Minister YP Sentyurin, with Federal Water and Power Minister Ahmad Mukhtar here on Thursday. The two sides discussed various matters of mutual interest and cooperation in the energy sector. They agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding for energy cooperation and a draft will be prepared in this regard for consideration. According to a statement issued here, the Russian delegates expressed interest in investing $500 million in the CASA-1,000 project. They were also willing to provide assistance for modernisation and rehabilitation of Muzaffargarh and Guddu thermal power plants and their conversion to enable them to run on cheaper fuel, like coal. Earlier welcoming the delegation, Ahmad Mukhtar asked them to help Pakistan modernise hydroelectric plants, participate in construction of 500-kilovolt transmission line for import of 1,000 megawatts of electricity from Iran and other projects like Tarbela 4th Extension, coal and renewable energy and transmission lines. He recalled that Russian companies had already developed many big projects in Pakistan and assured them of continuous and unwavering cooperation. Separately, a delegation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), headed by Central and West Asia Department Director General Klaus Gerhaeusser, held a meeting with Water and Power Minister Ahmad Mukhtar. Mukhtar discussed the possibility of financial and technical assistance for mega water and power projects like Bhasha Dam. The delegation was also informed about the process of land acquisition for the dam and compensation package for displaced people. Terming Bhasha Dam a very critical project, the ADB delegation assured the minister of support for big water projects including Bhasha Dam. The bank has already provided $1.5 billion for energy projects and says it will continue financial and technical support for other projects as well. Moscow seeks IP pipeline feasibility study Russia has sought a detailed engineering design and feasibility study on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline for evaluation before going ahead with financing the project. German-based firm ILF is currently engaged in feasibility study of the vital gas import project and the report has not yet been completed. However, the engineering design has been prepared. According to sources, a 12-member Russian delegation, headed by Deputy Energy Minister YP Sentyurin, made the demand in a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain here on Thursday. The Russian delegation is visiting Pakistan in connection with the second meeting of the Pakistan-Russia joint working group on energy cooperation. Hussain assured the delegation that Pakistan would submit the detailed engineering design of the pipeline project. According to a statement issued here, Hussain highlighted Pakistanâ€™s urgent approach towards meeting its energy needs and said completion of mega gas projects including Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and IP pipelines was the countryâ€™s top priority. In this connection, he praised the Russian offer of cooperation for the gas import projects. Petroleum Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry, who was present in the meeting, briefed the delegation on progress on the pipeline projects and stressed the need for expanding the bilateral treaty framework of cooperation in the oil and gas sector. The delegation was informed about the extensive work done on formulating shale and tight gas policies, which may be of interest to Moscow. Both sides agreed that details of the two mega gas projects would be shared immediately and financial matters would remain negotiable.