Pakistani Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi underlined that completion of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project is one of the most important priorities of Islamabad's economic development plans. Addressing a ceremony for the grant of 12 petroleum concession agreements and exploration licenses to Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) on Tuesday, the Pakistani minister voiced Islamabad's willingness to implement the IP project which would transfer Iran's natural gas to the energy-hungry Southeast Asian country, the Express Tribune reported. He further suggested that the timeframe set for commissioning the project should be extended. Last week, a Pakistani source said that talks on setting new timeframe for the completion of the much-awaited IP gas pipeline project was started in Tehran after Islamabad sent a team of experts and officials to the Iranian capital to this end. Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed. The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.