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4th tripartite meeting on "The Peace Pipeline" kicks off in Tehran

Tehran, Jan 24, IRNA - The working committee of the Iran-Pakistan- India gas pipeline project started a two-day meeting in Tehran Wednesday to discuss pricing for Iranian natural gas that is to be transported to India via Pakistan through the pipeline.

The meeting is the 4th gathering of representatives of the three states' oil and energy ministries.

Managing Director of Iran's National Gas Exports Company Nasrollah Seifi told reporters prior to the meeting that the consultant company chosen to set a pricing mechanism for the project would brief the gathering on developments in the project today.

Tehran, Islamabad and New delhi have signified their political will to implement the project but remain divided on the price of gas.

They have agreed to appoint a consultant company to fix their differences on pricing and the company is now trying to come up with a pricing mechanism.

Seifi, who has said that Tehran was not amenable to the proposed price, said that "if New Delhi is to bring Iran's gas into India, it (New Delhi) should pay the cost of the transfer via Pakistan." Iran has proposed a "floating price," which it says is necessary because of the volatility of crude oil prices, said the official.

Asked if the meeting was held under external pressure, the official said that India and Pakistan have "strongly responded to external pressure and have not been influenced by such pressure." Moreover, Seifi said that comments by India and Pakistan on the issue indicate they take into account only their own interests.

He said that although India and Pakistan differ widely in their economic situations, they act as a "single client" when it comes to the purchase of Iranian gas, Seifi stressed.

Asked if sanctions sought to be imposed on Iran would have a negative effect on the project, the official said "no instance of a negative effect has been observed so far." Seifi was optimistic failure of parties in the current meeting to reach agreement would lead oil ministers of the three countries to agree on another meeting.

The official said that Iran has the capacity to export some 90 million cubic meters of gas to India and 60 million cubic meters to Pakistan on a daily basis once the pipeline becomes operational.

Stressing that transfer of gas to India and Pakistan by land would be the best option for the two countries, Seifi said that the pipeline, dubbed the `Peace Pipeline', would traverse 1,100km of Iranian territory, 1,000km of Pakistani territory and 500km of Indian territory.

... Payvand News - 1/24/07 ... --

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