Iran pipeline talks to focus on gas price

New Delhi, March 10:

India and Pakistan will take up the issue of gas price at the first official tripartite talks on the Iran pipeline project in Tehran next week.

“We would be discussing some of the pending issues at the first official level tripartite meeting being held in Tehran March 13-15,” Petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan said here on Friday. Srinivasan, who will be leading the official delegation, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the first roadshow for the 55 exploration blocks for which India has recently invited bids.

“The gas price issue has never come up so far into the focus of talks. We have sounded out the idea with Pakistan and it will be the key issue we would be discussing,” the official said.

Host country Iran and gas importing countries India and Pakistan would also “strive to prepare a project structure and price range as also the draft framework agreement ahead of the trilateral ministerial meeting planned in April”.

Srinivasan denied that LNG imports from Iran, including the pending ratification of a five-million-tonne deal signed last year, would be taken up for discussion on the sidelines of the tripartite meeting.

Ahead of the secretary level meeting, the technical teams of India, Pakistan and Iran had held discussions here in January to discuss various technical parameters of the project, including the quality of gas, pipeline specifications and the possible route of the project.