New Delhi: India will push for an accord on a multi-billion dollar pipeline to transport gas from energy-rich Iran through Pakistan by mid-July, oil minister Murli Deora said on 20 June.
“On (June) 27th there is a bilateral meeting (between India and Pakistan) and on 28th and 29th there are trilateral meetings in New Delhi,” Deora told reporters.
“We have to strike the deal by mid-July,” he said postponing an earlier date he had set for June.
New Delhi and Islamabad will meet to sort out differences on transportation tariff and transit fees first and then follow it up with discussions with Iran, Deora said.
Oil ministers of the three countries would then meet in July to ink the framework agreement on the 7.4 billion dollar pipeline, he said.
The 2,600-kilometre (1,600-mile) pipeline from Iran’s giant South Pars gas field will initially carry around 60 million standard cubic metres per day of gas.
Talks on the proposal started in 1994, but have been stalled because of technical and commercial issues, apart from objections by the United States, which has locked horns with Tehran over its atomic programme.
India, which currently imports more 70% of its energy needs, has been seeking new supplies of oil and gas from abroad besides ramping up production from domestic sources to fuel its runaway economic growth.
Separately, Deora said New Delhi would sign a deal with Algeria to import 1.25 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually.
India’s Petronet LNG Ltd. would source the gas from Algeria’s national company Sonatrach, oil ministry secretary M.S. Srinivasan said.
“We are trying for a 25 year contract and the supplies are likely to commence from December 2009,” Srinivasan said.