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Govt should focus on pipelines: Plan panel

The Planning Commission has said the Government should lay emphasis on trans-national gas pipelines to ensure energy security in long term.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 16:56 IST

The Planning Commission has said the Government should lay emphasis on trans-national gas pipelines to ensure energy security in long term.

"The scope for trans-national gas pipelines needs to be explored from a long term perspective," the Commission said in its draft paper on approach to the 11th Five-Year Plan.

Consumption of petroleum products is likely to rise from 112 MT in 2005-06 to about 135 MT by 2012, Gas from 20 MTOE to 55 MTOE and LNG imports from five to 20 million tonnes.

Energy security has dominated India's bilateral dialogues in recent times. Among the options, changing the energy mix to reduce reliance on a single source is being pursued vigorously.

One such option is natural gas. Incidentally, India does not have an equivalent gas reserve to match its growing need.

The country has been aggressively pursuing the idea of importing gas through three pipelines - Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI); Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI); and Myanmar-Bangladesh-India (MBI) pipelines.

The IPI pipeline has hit a roadblock with no consensus having emerged during the Islamabad trilateral meeting earlier this year on the gas price and project framework.

The 3.5 billion dollar trans-Afghan pipeline is to supply gas from the Daulatabad fields in southeast Turkmenistan to India via Multan, Pakistan (1,271 km), with a 640 km extension to India.

The TAPI pipeline, of which India became a part after the pro-US regime took over in Afghanistan and Indo-Pak relations improved, appears to be the most risky as it involves two volatile transit countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan.