30 May 2007 - 09:45
  • News Code: 105918
IPI Talks Demonstrate Iran"s Importance

TEHRAN -- Iran"s chief negotiator in the "peace pipeline" talks says the project demonstrates Iran"s significant role at regional and international levels.

Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told reporters that Iran, which has the world"s largest gas reserves after Russia, has decided to implement dozens of other projects to export its gas to regional countries and beyond.

Ghanimifard, who represents Iran in the negotiations, said the finalization of the price agreement will pave the way for further talks over the administrative operations of the ambitious project.

"We hope to reach an agreement on the price in Tehran," Mehr news agency quoted him as saying. He added the final draft of the agreement would likely be ready by June 30.

"It is natural that the three nations would consider their own interests in the talks. However, they should reach a consensus based on international criteria," Ghanimifard

concluded.

Dubbed peace pipeline, Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas line is a proposed 2,775 km pipeline project to deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India. The project is expected to take three to five years to complete and will cost $7 billion.

The Iranian petroleum minister’s special envoy for the peace pipeline talks assured that Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas contract would be finalized by the end of June.

Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told PIN the views of Pakistan and India on price were getting close.

“At this stage, we are negotiating on the trilateral contract and gas will be exported to India when the two states reach an agreement,” the international affairs manager of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) added.

“The deadline for finalization of the contract is June 30,” recalled the chief negotiator, expressing hope all problems would be settled by the date.

Talking about Turkmenistan’s exporting gas to Pakistan and India, Ghanimifard said competition in gas market was completely natural, however, adding if conditions were based on logical and international norms, the contracting parties would prefer Iran.

“The initial demand of Pakistan and India for Iran’s gas amounted to 150 million cubic meters per day, but we announced that Iran had now the capacity to supply 60 million cubic meters of commodity daily and we could increase its volume in next phases,” said the official, concluding that it was natural that Pakistan was seeking a contract with Turkmenistan as Iran was not able at present to meet Pakistan’s need fully.

The special envoy said the last round of peace pipeline talks would be held in Pakistan, expressing hope the three states would reach an agreement on price in today’s and tomorrow’s negotiations.

During his last month visit to Iran, India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora underlined the necessity to sign the contract on the peace pipeline by end of June.

“The talks now hinge on agreement over the tariff to be charged by Pakistan for gas transported through its section of the pipeline for delivery at the Indian border,” said Deora. 

The minister said he did not expect there to be any major delays in signing a full sales and purchase agreement. “The commercial agreement is nearly complete -- we are working very sincerely,” he said.

 

The project is expected to greatly benefit both India and Pakistan, which do not have sufficient natural gas to meet their rapidly increasing domestic demand for energy. India is predicted to require 400 million cubic meters of gas per day by 2025, up from 90 million cubic meters per day in 2005.

Senior representatives from Iran, India and Pakistan have gathered in Tehran to make their final negotiations over the price of gas to be exported from Iran to India via Pakistan - through the so-called "peace pipeline".

The three sides have met several times but have failed so far to reach a consensus over a price for Iran"s gas. Iranian officials, however, are optimistic an agreement will be concluded by the end of the current talks in Tehran.

News Code 105918

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