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US voices concern over IPI project

PRESS_URL - The US government continues to oppose Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project while considering it infeasible in the foreseeable future.

"We have longstanding points on doing business with Iran. Our stance is that we are concerned about the project," said a US State Department official when asked to explain Washington's position on the pipeline by Pakistan's

"We have made the point that countries should not be conducting business as usual with Iran right now," he said.

"We are giving the same message to the Indians and Pakistanis," he added.

Christian Faire, a South Asia expert working for the Rand Corporation, says the Bush administration and the US Congress "expect India to be sensitive to US concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions".

Robert Johnston of the Eurasia Group believes the IPI is infeasible because of rising demand for gas in Iran and Iran's competing projects.

"Ultimately Iran will find better projects for its gas. Two other options which are most attractive are either developing pipelines to Western Europe via Turkey or developing the LNG (liquefied natural gas) market in Asia," quoted Johnston as saying.

Mike Green of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies urged the US to use "quiet diplomacy" to stall the pipeline project. "If we are going to be too loud about it, we would risk giving the opponent of close US-India ties a nice weapon to beat up the (Indian) government."

India's Communist Party, for example, opposes the India-US nuclear deal and criticizes the government of jeopardizing its relations with Iran.

The pipeline is of paramount importance for India since it will help the energy-hungry country to import gas from Iran, which holds the world's second largest gas reserves after Russia.

GAIL interested to participate in IPI

Gas Authority of India Limited has expressed interest to participate in the construction of a pipeline to transmit Iran's gas to India via Pakistan.

GAIL has expressed interest in the construction of the gas pipeline project to transmit gas from Pakistan to the Indian borders, Fars News Agency quoted an informed company official as saying.

The company declared its interest in participation in the project in the recent round of meetings between the Pakistani and Indian oil ministers, the report added.

The issues surrounding management of the project, the gas transit fee and transportation are among the subjects currently under discussion by the officials of the three countries of Iran, Pakistan and India.

Upon completion, the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline will have the capacity to transfer 2.46 billion cubic feet of natural gas from Iran's South Pars field to Pakistan and India.

... Payvand News - 05/19/08 ... --

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