India to hold gas pipe talks with Iran, Pak in July
Officials from India, Pakistan and Iran will meet next month in Tehran to take forward a $7.6 billion project to pipe Iranian gas to the South Asian nations, India’s oil secretary said on Monday.
India had missed a meeting in September, citing issues with its neighbor, triggering a pledge from Iran and Pakistan to press ahead without Indian participation. “Bilateral issues have more or less been resolved,” M.S. Srinivasan told reporters, adding he expected Pakistan to support India’s stand on the delivery point for the gas.
Iran had said the delivery would be at the Iran-Pakistan border, while India wants it to take place further east at the India-Pakistan frontier, Srinivasan said. “In our bilateral with Pakistan on April 24, Pakistan said they have no problem with our stand and they will also attend the trilateral meeting and they will help us,” he told reporters. Analysts say New Delhi wants to reduce the risk of supplies being cut during times of tension between the two long-time rivals. India and Pakistan are desperate to tie up future energy supplies to fuel their fast-growing economies, but the United States has tried to discourage any deal with Iran in the past, because of Tehran’s suspected ambitions to build nuclear arms. wants it to take place further east at the India-Pakistan frontier, Srinivasan said.
Work on the pipeline is seen beginning next year and could be finished by 2012. It would initially transport 60 million cubic meters of gas (2.2 billion cubic feet) daily to Pakistan and India, half for each country. The pipeline’s capacity would later rise to 150 million cubic meters. Srinivasan also said there would be no extension of the deadline for bids for its latest oil and gas asset licensing round beyond the end of June. The deadline had been extend three times already, the latest occasion in May. (Reuters)
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