The decade-old pipedream of importing natural gas from Iran via Pakistan seems to be fading away.
Islamabad and Tehran have signed a price agreement, but Petroleum Minister Murli Deora would not discuss the issue when he meets his Iranian counterpart, Masoud Mir Kazemi, during the world’s biggest energy conference here.
Petroleum ministry officials accompanying Deora said the minister would be discussing state-owned ONGC and GAIL’s participation in Iran’s gas fields.
No discussions are proposed with Pakistan’s energy minister, Syed Naveed Qamer, Deora said. "There is nothing in my agenda regarding talks with Pakistan," Deora told HT.
Petroleum ministry officials said Deora may hold bilateral talks with Venezuelan energy and petroleum minister Rafael Ramirez Carreno and Iranian oil minister Hussain Al Shahristani, besides energy ministers from Russia, Libya, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman and Egypt.
About the Iran-Pakistan agreement, officials said the high price of gas being sought by Iran, and security concerns as the pipeline passes through Pakistan, were the bottlenecks in the $7-billion project.
Iran had first sought $3.2 per unit; in 2007 this was benchmarked to the crude oil price, and revised up to $4.93 per unit. Last year, Tehran hiked the price to $8.3. Clubbed with delivery costs, the gas would finally cost about $9.5 per unit at the Indian border. The costliest gas produced domestically is Panna-Mukta-Tapti’s $5.7-per unit.
Disclaimer: The author’s travel, boarding and lodging was provided by ONGC Videsh Ltd.