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India willing to pay more for Iran gas

India is willing to pay a higher price for extra quantities of LNG if the Islamic nation honours existing contract.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 16:22 IST

India is willing to pay a higher price for extra quantities of liquefied natural gas from Iran if the Islamic nation honours an existing contract for five million tonnes, Oil Minister Murli Deora said on Monday.

India in June 2005 signed a deal with Iran to import 5 million tonnes of LNG annually over a 25-year period from 2009, with an option to buy an additional 2.5 million tonnes a year, to help tie up supplies for the energy-starved nation.

"We have been telling (Tehran) they should honour the first contract and then we could talk about the price," he said.

Iran in May last year told New Delhi that its Supreme Economic Council had not approved the five million tonne LNG deal, priced at $3.25 per million British thermal units, after a sharp rise in oil prices, and said it was demanding more.

Deora will be meeting his Iranian counterpart, Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, later this week in New Delhi.

"We are looking forward to discussing two pending matters. One is our contract with them for LNG supplies, and the second the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline," he said.

The minister said a secretary-level trilateral meeting would take place in Tehran on Jan. 20-21 to discuss the pipeline and pricing of gas to be supplied to India and Pakistan through the proposed $7-billion project.