TEHRAN, Sept. 23 (Mehr News Agency) - Negotiations on the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas deal or the so-called "Peace Pipeline Project" would be finalized after the designated consultant company tasked with working out a pricing formula presents its report in November, noted here on Saturday, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian.
Based on the earlier agreements reached by the representatives of Iran, Pakistan and India, the three sides should outline the strategies for the pricing consultant company, he told the Persian service of Iran's Petroenergy Information Network (PIN).
The contractor company is currently carrying out the gas pricing studies, the Iranian official emphasized adding that although the beginning of the work has run into delays, the project implementation method has not changed.
He also announced that the pricing report by Gaffney, Cline & Associates Company would be presented in November and given that the three partite meeting is scheduled for the same time in Tehran, it is expected that grounds would be prepared for the finalization of the deal in the next two months.
However, in a letter to Nejad-Hosseinian, India's Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan wrote that contrary to the agreement, Iran had excluded India and Pakistan from the joint exercise to work out the pricing formula for natural gas that would flow through the proposed tri-nation pipeline.
Tehran has kept GAIL (India) Ltd out of coordination and finalization of a study by Gaffney, Cline & Associates on fixing the formula that would be the starting point for further negotiations on gas price - the main contention among the three countries, the letter said.
After the last meeting of the deputy oil ministers of Iran, Pakistan and India failed to reach a result, the three sides agreed that the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) would contract the consultant company for coordination and finalization of the study.
Appointing an independent, international consultant had become crucial after a standoff between the gas sellers and buyers with Iran insisting on a price linked to the crude oil and India and Pakistan seeking a price band with a ceiling.
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