Monday, December 19, 2005

India, Pakistan to begin work on Iran pipeline in 2007

New Delhi, Dec 17 India India and Pak agreed to begin construction of the over 7-billion dollar Iran- Pakistan-India gas pipeline by mid-2007 so that the first gas flows by the end of 2010.

Pakistan's Petroleum Secretary Ahmad Waqar said in New Delhi that initially, India would draw 60 million standard cubic meters per day from the over 2,100-km pipeline project and ramp it up to 90 mmscmd in next 2-3 years while Pakistan would start with 30 mmscmd and double its off take by 2013.

The three countries, which till now have been meeting only bilaterally would for the first time hold a trilateral meeting in early February 2006 in Tehran. Till date, India has held talks with Pakistan and Iran separately and Pakistan with Iran separately.

The trilateral meeting would address the issues relating to the project, including an integrated feasibility study, project structure and tri-partite framework agreement.

At the end of two-day meeting of the Indo-Pak Joint Working Group on the project, Petroleum Secretary S C Tripathi said that the project structure, its built and operation, and the Framework Agreement between India, Pakistan and Iran on the pipeline would be finalised by April 2006.

Ahmad Waqar, who led the Pakistani side a the third JWG, said a technical sub-working group would be set up to sort out issues like transportation tariff, transit fee payable to Pakistan, system configuration, pipeline route and pricing mechanism.

The sub-group would meet on a monthly basis to resolve the issue before the next JWG meeting in early March 2006.

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