IPI gas pipeline project can be finalised through cooperation: Pranab

November 1st, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Tehran, Nov 1 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said that New Delhi is working with Islamabad to resolve outstanding issues and insisted that the 7.4-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project can be finalised through cooperation of all the three countries.

Inaugurating the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting in Tehran, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee also expressed hope that Iran would implement the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) deal of 2005 for supply of five million mtpa of LNG.

He said India also expected that 20 per cent stake for ONGC Videsh Ltd in Yadavaran gas field as part of the LNG agreement would be honoured by Iran.

“We have reiterated to the Iranian government at all levels that India remains committed to the IPI project. We are working with Pakistan to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to transit and transportation tariff,” the Minister said.

“With the cooperation of all three sides, it should be possible to finalise the project,” he said.

The two-day Joint Commission meeting, co-chaired by Mukherjee and Iran’’s Economic Minister Shamseddin Hossein, is discussing new initiatives in various sectors including trade and investment, energy, mining, railways and banking.

Noting that India was looking for a more balanced trade profile, Mukherjee invited Iranian participation in India’’s growth.

He said the two countries have finalised negotiations on Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and are agreeable on commencing discussions on a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to strengthen bilateral trade.

India and Iran have already sorted out banking issues and sought to create a suitable ambience for investments, joint ventures and collaborations, Mukherjee said.

“India is globally acknowledged as an investment destination. We would invite Iranian friends to also benefit from India’’s growth,” he said.

Observing that the two countries have already demonstrated in the past that they can successfully collaborate in major economic projects, he said, “our strong bilateral relationship in the oil and gas sector can be a stepping stone for Iranian investments in that sector.”

Mukherjee expressed happiness over the discovery of oil and gas by OVL in the Farsi block after exploration work at four sites at an estimated cost of USD 90 million.

“OVL is hopeful of being awarded the development contract under a mutually acceptable arrangement,” Mukherjee said while noting that OVL is also involved in negotiations on the development of South Parl Phase 12 and Azadegan fields.

“We hope bilateral cooperation in this sector would be further strengthened by the implementation by Iran of the LNG deal concluded in 2005 for the supply of five million mtpa of LNG to India by Iran,” Mukherjee said.

He said that trade in oil sector has been adversely impacted by banking problems which has since been resolved to the satisfaction of both sides. (ANI)

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