Pakistan has said that it expected a "consensus" formula to emerge on the $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project in the upcoming tripartite meeting between officials of the three countries in Tehran.
"There is a room for consensus on the report of the UK-based consultant Gaffiney Caline and Associates over its proposed gas tariff for the IPI project," Pakistan's Petroleum and Natural Resources Secretary Ahmad Waqar said.
Pakistan was expecting a tripartite meeting in early December in Tehran to further negotiate the issue of gas price to be offered by Iran to India and Pakistan. "We are still hopeful as Pakistan has not rejected the gas tariff finalised by the consultant," he was quoted as saying by local daily 'Dawn'.
When told that India had rejected the price of eight dollars per million British thermal units for Iran's Brent crude and had sought $4.25 he said Pakistan was yet to decide about it and hoped that some agreed gas tariff could be worked out in the Tehran meeting.
Pakistan had also offered Iran to arrange a tripartite meeting in Islamabad if the same could not be held in Tehran for any reason. "We are waiting for their response."
Responding to a question, Waqar said since the IPI was a viable project, work on it could be started as soon as issues like framework agreement, detailed designing, route and configuration of the pipeline were sorted out.
He said about 1,400km long pipeline was expected to be completed by 2010-11 because there was no problem of funding.
"A number of international investors are expected to finance the gas project," he said.