India to discuss IPI gas pipeline issues with Pakistan on April 25

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New Delhi, Apr 14 : Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said that India and Pakistan would discuss the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project in Islamabad on April 25.

He told reporters after the 5th Asia Gas Partnership Summit today that the discussion would include issues such as transit fee, impeding progress on the over seven billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, even as it gets formally inducted in a rival line from Turkmenistan.

Deora would visit Islamabad with his Secretary M S Srinivasan on 23rd and 24th April for the Steering Committee meeting of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan gas pipeline called by project sponsor the Asian Development Bank for formal induction of New Delhi in the project and signing of heads of agreements.

New Delhi has not been attending talks on the IPI project since mid-2007 as it first wanted to resolve the issue of transit fee payable to Islamabad for wheeling the gas through that country, said officials.

New Delhi and Islamabad have reached a broad understanding on the transportation tariff payable to Pakistan for wheeling the gas through the pipeline passing through that country. But the two nations have not yet agreed on payment of a separate transit fee to Pakistan for allowing the passage of the fuel.

Islamabad is seeking 0.493 dollars per million British thermal unit (mBtu) as transit fee, while New Delhi has offered 0.15 dollars per mBtu (60 million dollars a year) for providing security and right of way to the pipeline, officials said.

Earlier, India and Pakistan narrowed down differences on transportation tariff. Islamabad previously wanted 0.7 dollars per mBtu as wheeling charges, but New Delhi was willing to pay no more than 0.55 dollars per mBtu (220 million dollars annually).

The two sides have now agreed to base it on actual cost of building and operating the 1,035-km pipeline in Pakistan.

Iran, Pakistan and India are to separately build pipeline segments falling under their territories.

ANI

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