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India optimistic about gas pipeline project involving Iran

Written by: Staff

London, Sep 17 (UNI) Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora said India is optimistic about the 7 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project taking shape.

Speaking to the media yesterday in London, Mr Deora said the three countries have had secretary-level and ministerial-level meetings.

He said, ''We have been informed that a final decision on the issue would be taken by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Majlis.'' ''We are sure Iran will honour its agreement to provide five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas to India from 2009-10 for 25 years.'' He said Pakistan is also keen for the ''IPI pipeline project to go through.'' On his way from Vienna, Mr Deora was in London for a day to participate in a conference in Cambridge.

The proposed pipeline is expected to transport 90 million standard cubic metres of gas every day from Iran's South Pars fields to India from 2009-10 onwards while Pakistan would receive 60 million standard cubic meters, Mr Deora said, ''There are a lot of hurdles but we hope to make things work. We need the gas from Iran to meet energy needs of India and we are committed to make the project happen.'' He said ''we are also positive about the Turkemenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) pipeline initiative of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).'' Talking about the conference organised by the Judge Business School, Cambridge at Cambridge on ''Business prospects and geopolitics in Central Eurasia'', which the minister attended earlier yesterday , he recalled the historic association India had with the Cambridge University and the fact that the first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and the present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were students there.

While addressing the conference he emphasized the crucial role that Eurasia would play in the energy sector with its hydrocarbon endowment, and outlined a three-point strategy for Indian engagement with the region. They are to actively participate in the development of the hydrocarbons in the Eurasian region by acquisition of equity in oil and gas in the region, evacuation of oil and gas through transnational pipelines and a regime of cross investments between them.

Mr Deora informed that discussions were also held on ''a potential gas grid from North and Central Asia to Far East region. China, Korea, Japan and India are expected to drive gas demand in the future whereas North and Central Asia have abundant reserves of gas, making them natural partners.'' ''The gas grid envisages pipelines traversing through gas producing countries like Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan , Iran etc to gas consumers like China, India, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, Turkey etc.

''The projected benefits of such a gas grid are enormous both in monetary terms as well as in terms of contribution to energy security. This concept, if feasible, can be truly termed as an energy bridge to prosperity. We are also looking at extending the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan pipeline to India.'' UNI XC SY RP BD1545

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