Indian Energy Firms to Visit Tehran

Indian Energy Firms to Visit TehranIndian Energy Firms to Visit Tehran

The long-proposed $4.5-million undersea gas pipeline between Iran and India is likely to get some momentum with a planned visit by key domestic gas buyers, including Gail and Indian Oil Ltd, to the Persian Gulf country in March following the lifting of western sanctions on Jan. 16.

The visit by a team comprising three gas buyers from India, including Gail and IOL, plans to discuss the cost of the gas that would be supplied via a pipeline and other modalities, people familiar with the developments told Economic Times.

There are also plans to transport gas from the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan to India through this pipeline, said persons familiar with the Iranian energy sector and the pipeline.

If this proposal succeeds, gas from Turkmenistan will be transferred to Iran, and in turn, Tehran will transfer a similar quantity to India under a swap agreement between Iran and the Central Asian country.

This will be a boost for the energy-hungry India, although the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline was formally launched last December. The proposed 1,400-km pipeline would transport natural gas via the Oman Sea and Arabian Sea from Iran to India whenever it fructifies.

People familiar with the developments also indicated that gas-rich Oman might join the pipeline at a later stage, making it a trilateral initiative, given its geographical proximity to both India and Iran.

Last December, Iran's state-owned National Iranian Gas Export Company's Managing Director Alireza Kameli referred to this proposed project and said, "Our negotiations have been under serious considerations for some time and we hope to soon finalize an agreement for the South Asia Gas Enterprise pipeline project."

Companies keen to buy gas from Iran will sign supply contracts with NIGEC. The proposed undersea pipeline would bypass Pakistan's exclusive economic zone and transport up to 31.1 million cubic meters of gas per day.