India, Iran, Pakistan to discuss gas pipeline in July (Lead)

June 23rd, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) India, Pakistan and Iran will meet next month to finalise the $7.4 billion tri-nation gas pipeline project, petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan said here Monday. “The trilateral meeting of oil ministers of the three countries is most likely to take place in Tehran next month,” Srinivasan told reporters.

He said transit issues with Pakistan were settled in April when Petroleum Minister Murli Deora visited Islamabad. “But there are a few issues with Iran, which our government wants to settle at the trilateral meeting in Tehran,” he added.

India has been asking Iran to hand over gas at the India-Pakistan border and not at the Iran-Pakistan border, as had been suggested by Tehran, to cut transit risk through Pakistan. It has also opposed the price revision clause that Iran is seeking to insert in the gas sale agreement.

India is also pressing Iran to dedicate a particular gas field like South Pars for the tri-nation pipeline and get its reserves certified by a third party. New Delhi also wants to know the alternate sources of supply in the event of depletion of reserves.

Srinivasan, who was part of the team that attended the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) meet in Jeddah Sunday, said there was no major constraint on the supply of oil. “We have only asked major oil producing countries to increase their oil output so that supply response is even better.”

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