* Tripartite Framework Agreement to be signed by December
* Iran has 14 trillion cubic feet gas to export
* Tripathy says no proposal to include China
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: Indian Petroleum Secretary SC Tripathy said on Friday that a proposed $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project was likely to be initiated by the mid of 2007 and completed by 2010.
“Some areas of Pakistan and northern parts of India will start benefiting from the Iranian gas by early 2010,” Tripathy said at a press briefing along with Pakistan’s Petroleum Secretary Ahmad Waqar after the end of a two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) in Islamabad. The next meeting of the group might be held in the 2nd week of November while the Tripartite Framework Agreement is likely to be finalised by December.
The main points discussed at the JWG meeting included gas reserve certification and allocation, gas quantity and build-up, gas quality, system configuration and project structure, pipeline route, delivery points, transportation tariff, transit fee, capital, operation costs and pipeline security.
Tripathy said that pre-feasibility study of the project would be completed by the end of December 2005, after that it would take one-and-a-half years to initiate the project. He said that Iran had told Pakistan and India that it had 14 trillion cubic feet gas for export. “However Pakistan and India will require only two trillion cubic feet gas, to be consumed in 30 years,” he said.
Asked about the statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to the United States in which he described the project as fraught with risks, Tripathy said: “Our prime minister was misunderstood. Actually, he said that there was uncertainty as the project was at the preliminary stage.” The Indian official said that in his statement in parliament, Singh said that it was a matter between India, Pakistan and Iran and the US had nothing to do with the project. He added that for the time being, there was no proposal to include China in the project.
Pakistani Petroleum Secretary Ahmad Waqar said that India had appointed Earnest & Young its financial consultants while Pakistan would appoint its financial advisor this month for which the bidding process would be completed by September 14. Mr Waqar said that Pakistan would receive a maximum gas of 2.5 billion cubic feet per day while India will have 3.1 billion cubic feet per day. Rashid Lone, managing director of the Inter-State Gas System, told Daily Times that in case of sanctions against Iran, Pakistan would immediately move towards the other proposed Turkmenistan–Afghanistan-Pakistan or Qatar-Pakistan pipeline.