Mumbai summit to be venue for Iran gas pipeline talks

Wednesday, 28 January 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: An upcoming gas buyers summit in Mumbai may well be the venue of talks between Iran, Pakistan and India on the long pending gas pipeline project to bring Iranian gas to the subcontinent, the organisers said Tuesday.

"We are hopeful of Pakistan Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Nauraiz Shakoor Khan attending the two-day summit, which will be attended by experts from 18 countries including Iran, and the venue providing a platform for further talks on the gas pipeline project," Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said here Tuesday.

The two-day event on February 2-3 will also see further talks on collaboration in the hydrocarbon sector between India and Pakistan, Mitra told a news conference.

Earlier this month, Pakistan's petroleum secretary visited India to explore possibilities of such cooperation.

Gas infrastructure major GAIL (India) Ltd chairman and managing director Proshanto Banerjee said over the next five to six years India would see an investment of around 550 billion in the gas sector.

Of this, GAIL would invest around 200 billion to set up a national gas grid. The remaining investment would be in setting up city gas distribution networks and regional gas infrastructure, he said.

With India's gas market witnessing tremendous changes following discoveries of gas on the east coast, the start of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports by the month end and the likelihood of cross-border gas supplies through pipelines, Banerjee said the summit would focus on several issues like regulation and pricing.

Besides import of gas through a pipeline from Iran, India is studying the possibility of bringing gas from Myanmar, where an offshore block in which India has equity stake has shown promising reserves.

"We have started feasibility studies into the possibility of bringing gas from Myanmar in the event the offshore block yields good reserves," said Banerjee.

Around 300 experts, including over 70 from overseas, will attend the Second Asian Gas Market Summit.

They will include representatives from several global energy companies and experts from the US, Britain, China, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, France, the Philippines and South Korea.

Currently able to meet only 50 percent of its domestic gas requirement, India is looking at alternate sources to bridge the growing gap.

India's demand for gas by 2006-07 is expected to be around 50 billion cubic feet (BCF) against the current natural gas consumption of 27 BCF.

Source: IANS
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