Pak opposes India buying gas directly from Iran

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 19 July 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Pakistan has opposed India's plan to buy gas through the proposed $7.4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline at Rajasthan border directly from Iran, saying Tehran cannot own the gas in Pakistani territory.

To ensure safe delivery of gas and limiting its exposure in case of disruptions, New Delhi wanted Iran to own the gas till the delivery point at Pakistan and India border.

However, Pakistan at the 1st Joint Working Group meeting here on July 12-13 made it clear that involvement of National Iranian Gas Export Co (the gas exporting firm) in Pakistan territory will be "difficult", a senior official said.

At the meeting, India suggested a 2,135-km route for the pipeline along the thickly populated coastal areas in Pakistan so as to minimize the risk of sabotage and wanted the line to be laid by either NIGEC or a consortium of Iranian, Pakistani, Indian and international companies.

But it wanted NIGEC to hold the gas throughout the 890-km pipeline stretch in Pakistan - from Gwadar on Iran-Pak border to Umarkot - and deliver it directly at Barmer district border in Rajasthan so that New Delhi's obligations remained with NIGEC alone.

The official said Pakistan wanted India and Pakistan to buy gas from NIGEC in Iran and use the pipeline to be owned and operated by NIGEC/international firms/Indian and Pakistani firms for transporting the gas at respective delivery points.

Alternately, the pipeline consortium can purchase gas from NIGEC at Assaluyah, the landfall point of gas from South Pars gas field in Persian Gulf, and sell the same to India and Pakistan at respective delivery points.

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