New Delhi: India will make another attempt to salvage the 22-billion deal to import LNG from Iran when Petroleum Minister Murli Deora meets the Islamic country’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on 26 April.
Deora will make a day-long unscheduled stopover at Tehran on his way back from a week-long tour to energy-rich nations of Syria, Algeria and Egypt. He is expected to press Iran to honour the June 2005 deal to supply five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years beginning end-2009, sources said.
Iran wants a higher price than the one agreed in June 2005 and has said its Supreme Economic Council will not ratify the deal at the two-year old price of $3.215 per million British thermal unit (mBtu). Tehran now wants $5.1 per mBtu for the LNG.
Sources said Deora had first raised the issue with Ahmadinejad in Shanghai last June and will nudge him again for honouring the contract that was executed in presence of oil ministers of the two nations. New Delhi may offer to pay higher price for additional 2.5 million tonnes LNG that India wants beyond the already contracted volumes.
Besides the deal to ship gas in its liquefied form, Deora is also likely to discuss the price expected by Iran for exporting gas through the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Iran is seeking $4.93 per mBtu price for gas exports through the over $7 billion pipeline.
He would also seek the Iranian President’s intervention to get ONGC Videsh Ltd the much-delayed development rights for the Jufery oilfield and a 10% stake in Yadavaran field that was promised as part of the June 2005 deal.