Iran and Pakistan have agreed with India to appoint a UK-based Singapore consultant to help sort out the vexed issue of gas pricing for the proposed trilateral pipeline.
An official of Pakistan's Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry said it had been agreed with India to appoint the UK-based consultant - Gaffney Cline - to help sort out issues relating to gas pricing between the three countries.
Based on their report, he said, a meeting of the working group of the three countries would be held in Tehran before the end of this year to decide the issue.
The price formula for Iranian gas still remained to be concluded after which the issue of transit fee would be decided for taking the pipeline upto to India, he told the 'Dawn' newspaper.
The official did not say whether the royalty of gas to be charged from India could range from $500 million to $600 million. "There is no decision about it as the issue is still to be negotiated".
Stressing the need for an early settlement of pricing formula, he said Iran was not showing enough flexibility. Once that formula was agreed upon, he said, other issues like project structure, framework, quality and quantity of gas and other commercial and legal issues would be decided.
He declined to comment on political issues like the continuous opposition by the Bush administration to the $ 7 billion IPI, saying "I cannot talk about it as this has to be finalised between the top authorities of the two countries."