Saturday, July 16, 2005

India steps on pedal for Iran pipeline

Santanu Ghosh, India Express:
Spurred by Pakistan’s eagerness on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, India has stepped on the gas pedal. In the end of July, India is getting into a fresh bilateral with Iran on the issue. READ MORE

Senior officials in the petroleum ministry said the Iranian side, headed by the deputy minister for international cooperation, will visit India around the end of the month. The Indian delegation will be headed by Petroleum Secretary S.C. Tripathi.

The basic agenda for the bilateral with Iran will be the issue of pricing of the piped gas. While the Iranian side will be briefed about the headway in the recent talks between India and Pakistan, financial, commercial and other issues will also be taken up, sources said.

‘‘The idea is to firm up the issue of pricing with Iran so that before the JWG of Pakistan and India meets in August, the basis for the trilateral agreement will be worked out,” they added.

A study has also been conducted by an international research firm on the issue of pricing of piped gas.

While India is pushing for a price of around $2 per MBtu for the piped gas, Iran is keen to link the piped gas price to the LNG prices which will work out to $3.5 per MBtu. Such a price is high for India. While Pakistan may accept that price for its power projects, it is unviable for its fertiliser units.

It is expected that the pricing issue will be thrashed out in the bilateral with Iran. India will then push for the tripartite agreement with Pakistan in August.