India, Pakistan to sign four-nation gas dealDecember 9th, 2010 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Dec 9 (IANS) India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan will sign two cooperative pacts Saturday on a $7.6-billion gas pipeline project linking the four countries, a media report said Thursday.
The presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan will attend the signing ceremony in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, while Petroleum Minister Murli Deora will head the Indian delegation, Geo TV reported.
The 1,640-km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, conceived in 1995, was initially designed to provide gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. India was invited to join the project in 2008.
The pipeline will connect Pakistan’s national gas network near Multan and Fazilka in the Indian state of Punjab after passing through Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
The four countries will ink two agreements covering the operational aspects of the project, the report said.
The Pakistani cabinet has already approved the project, which will make available 30 billion cubic meters of gas to the country annually.
The report said Pakistan is prepared to buy additional gas if India backs out of the project at any stage.
Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest proven reserves of gas and is already providing gas to Russia and China.
After the signing of the agreements, international bids will be sought from energy companies to launch the project that is likely to be completed by 2014.
Ashgabat is likely to include the Southern Yoloten-Osman and Dovletabad gas fields in the project to ensure regular supply. Pakistan is expected to offer assistance to develop these gas fields.
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