India, Pakistan say strategy soon for gas import from Turkmenistan

January 25th, 2012 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) India and Pakistan are closer to agreeing on a transit fee and a joint strategy to develop gas fields and import the hydrocarbon via pipeline from the central asian republic of Turkmenistan, oil ministers of the two sides said Wednesday.

The statements came during a joint press conference by India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and his Pakastani counterpart Asim Hussain, after a bilateral meeting on energy cooperation.

Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas. India and Pakistan are both keen to tap this source through a pipeline via the Central Asian country’s eastern neighbour, Afghanistan.

“The issue of transit fee is being discussed with Afghanistan. A joint strategy is being evolved between India and Pakistan on this issue,” Hussain told reporters, referring to the proposal that was formalised among the four countries in 2008.

“We also intend to have a joint strategy on the up-stream sector in Turkmenistan where it is developing gas fields,” he added, speaking also about India and Pakistan hoping to help in developing and exploiting gas fields in the Central Asian country.

In 2008 when the four countries had signed the gas pipeline framework pact in Islamabad, the Asian Development Bank had estimated the cost of what is called the TAPI pipeline project at $7.6 billion and had also expressed desire to partially fund it.

According to industry sources, Turkmenistan’s gas reserves are exceeded only by Russia, Iran and Qatar.

China has already tapped into Turkmenistan’s gas reserves with a 1,800-km pipeline that was laid in late-2009 that runs through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to reach its western region, and connecting further via a domestic channel to reach Shanghai in the east.

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