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Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline on track: Petroleum Ministry Official

New Delhi, Dec 9, IRNA-India asserted that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project was on track and first gas from the over seven billion dollar project will start following from 2010-end.

A senior Petroleum Ministry official said the three countries are likely to agree on a project structure by February 2006 and a tripartite agreement was in sight by middle of next year.

"Government of India is committed to energy security and sees the pipeline as a crucial element in securing that", he said.

A delegation from Pakistan led by its Petroleum Secretary Ahmad Waqar will hold discussions on the pipeline on December 16-17, while an Iranian team led by its Deputy Minister for International cooperation Nejad Hosseinian will be in Delhi on December 28-29 to finalize modalities.

A technical commercial, financial and legal framework which would boost investor confidence in the project was being formulated, the official said, adding India would participate in the building and operation of the pipeline.

"India's interest will be best served by not staying out of the project rather being part of the project", he said.

Over 20-billion dollar worth of power, fertilizer and other projects are being planned to consume gas from the pipeline. "If such huge investment are at stake, we have to be involved with the building and operation of the project".

After finalization of the project structure, the three sides would get respective political approvals for entering into a tripartite framework agreement after which a project consortium would be out in place for building and operation of the project.

"Once political sanctions are provided, it would take two years for detailed planning and engineering of the project, its tendering and putting in place a legal agreement. The project would take 24 to 30 months to build", the official said.

The 56-inch pipeline would have a capacity to carry 150 million standard cubic meters of natural gas from Persian Gulf everyday to Pakistan and India.

New Delhi would draw two-thirds of the gas, while Islamabad would get the remaining one third.

Pakistan has raised its requirement of natural gas from Iran to block for itself the gas volume in the proposed pipeline project.

During the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, Pakistan had indicated its demand at 10-12 million standard cubic meters per day in 2010-11.

... Payvand News - 12/9/05 ... --

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