Islamabad, Apr 23: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora will begin talks with Pakistan on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. Deora, who arrived here on Tuesday evening, will have discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Khwaja Asif to resolve differences with Pakistan over the transit fee and transportation tariff for the trans-national gas pipeline project from Iran.
During April 16-17, senior Indian and Pakistani officials held talks in Islamabad to review the progress on the IPI project. According to sources, during the meeting, the Pakistani side projected a further increase in the transportation tariff which it attributed to the rise in the price of steel to be used in building the pipeline. Deora's visit is the first formal contact between New Delhi and Islamabad, after the new coalition government led by the Pakistan People's Party assumed office in Pakistan last month.
Ahead of Deora's visit, officials of the four countries involved in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project also met on Tuesday to prepare for the ministerial-level talks.
During his visit, the four nations will also ink a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement for the pipeline, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The US, which had opposed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, is encouraging India and Pakistan to import gas from Turkmenistan for their growing needs.
The 1,680-km pipeline from Turkmenistan will transport 100 million standard cubic metres per day of gas from the Dauletabad gas field, of which India's share is likely to be 60 mscmd.
The TAPI gas pipeline will run from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan. From there it will be constructed alongside the highway running from Herat to Kandahar, and then through Quetta and Multan in Pakistan. The final destination of the pipeline will be the Indian town of Fazilka in Ferozepur District of Punjab.
"The Steering Committee of the TAPI pipeline is meeting in Islamabad on April 23-24. This will witness India formally joining the project," Deora said on Tuesday in New Delhi.