Iran-India gas pipeline route survey by March 2003

Thursday, 26 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The route survey of the long-awaited Iran-India offshore gas pipeline is likely to be completed by March 2003.

GAIL (India) Ltd. chairman and managing director Proshanto Banerjee indicated this here on Wednesday.

GAIL (India) Ltd. is the nodal agency representing India for the gas pipeline project. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is representing Iran.

"The proposed pipeline has no political dimension, as the route planned is out of the economic zones and territories of neighboring countries at a depth of 3.6 km on the seabed," Banerjee said at a press meet to announce the financial results of the gas infrastructure major for 2001-02.

During 2001-02 GAIL had a net profit of 11.86 billion, a 5.3 percent rise over previous year's net profit of 11.26 billion. The company, which was earlier called Gas Authority of India Ltd., has been renamed recently as GAIL (India) Ltd. to suit its divergent business activities including telecom.

The 105.53 billion-turnover company is confident of the Iran-India offshore gas pipeline project being completed in another six to seven years.

"The execution of the Blue Stream offshore gas pipeline project from Russia to Turkey at a depth of 2.2 km on the seabed has given our consultants confidence about the feasibility of the Iran-India pipeline," said Banerjee.

Snamprogetti, the consultants to the Iran-India gas pipeline project, are also the main technical consultants to the Blue Stream project.

The Italian oil and gas engineering major has developed a new technology (Remote Operated Vessels) for repair of undersea pipelines, which has generated more confidence in the Iran-India project that will be at a greater depth.

"Once the offshore survey has been completed by Snamprogetti, it would take another three years for the detailed project report, gas supply and off take agreement between Iran and India, investment details, and financial closures to be achieved. After which it would take around three years for project execution," Banerjee told IANS.

The estimated cost of the project would be around $3 billion.

Facing a growing shortfall in gas supplies from domestic sources, India has been pursuing various options to augment overseas supplies through liquefied natural gas projects, the first of which will be operational by December 2003, as well as via the pipeline route.

While an onshore pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan would be a more cost-effective proposal, India has not opted for it due to security concerns.

NIOC is keen to export gas to India, as it sees India as one of the biggest gas consumers of the future.

Source: IANS
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