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India consults Pak to finalise dates for "Peace" gas pipeline

New Delhi, Oct 11, IRNA - India was consulting with Pakistan to finalise dates for their next bilateral meeting on the tri-nation gas pipeline also involving Iran, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said Wednesday.

"Mutually convenient dates for the bilateral meeting with Pakistan are being finalised," Deora told the members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry, an IANS report said here.

Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan last week told reporters in Coimbatore that minister-level talks between India and Pakistan would take place either by October-end or early November.

"All the major issues have been resolved. Only fixing of the transit fee remains to be solved," Srinivasan said.

Meanwhile, senior officials of Pakistan and Iran will meet in Islamabad Oct 15 to conclude their bilateral agreement for the gas pipeline.

The proposed trilateral 'peace pipeline' is a 2,600-kilometre link from the South Pars field in Iran to the gas markets of Pakistan and India.

The major part of the pipeline, of over 1,000 km, will be in Iran, the next 700 km in Pakistan and the remaining part in India.

Of the $ 7.4 billion price tag of the project, Pakistan will bear $ 2.8 billion and India $ 2.5 billion with the rest coming from Iran.

In the first phase, Iran will pump 60 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas, to be distributed equally between India and Pakistan.

The supply will be craned up to 90 mmscmd in the second phase of the project. Last month, India did not take part in a four-day trilateral meeting of experts in Tehran, stating that it first wanted to iron out bilateral wrinkles with Pakistan. However, Iranian officials then publicly announced that they were ready to go ahead with the pipeline with only Pakistan as partner. India responded by asserting that it was still committed to the project.

... Payvand News - 10/12/07 ... --

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