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Pipeline agreement finalisation in Dec

Petroleum secys of India and Pakistan announced this after JWG meet.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2005 23:18 IST

Pakistan and India on Friday agreed to finalise a tripartite framework agreement on the multi billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project by the end of this year.

The Secretaries for Petroleum of Pakistan and India, Ahmed Waqar and Sushil Chand Tripathy respectively, announced this while addressing a joint press briefing at the end of the second Pakistan-India Joint Working Group (JWG) meetingin Islamabad.

They said that the JWG had examined in detail the various technical, financial, commercial and legal aspects of the projects. The main points discussed in the JWG meeting included Gas Reserve Certification and Allocation, Gas Quantity and Build up, Gas Quality, System Configuration and project structure.

Other matters discussed were pipeline routing, delivery points, transportation traffic, transit fee, capital and operating costs and pipeline security etc, a joint statement issued said.

During the visit, the Indian delegation called on Amanullah Khan Jadoon, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Muhammad Naseer Mangal, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources.

The Ministers reaffirmed to the Indian delegation the Pakistan Government's commitment to the Iran-Pakistan-India project and other trans-national pipeline projects under consideration.

Tripathi reiterated that the Government of India was also strongly supportive of these trans-national gas pipeline proposals, which were crucial for the energy security and economic development of the two countries.

Both sides noted that the Indian Minster for Petroleum Mani Shankar Aiyar, had invited his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon to visit India next month.

"Aiyar's visit may then be planned to Pakistan in early December," said the statement. It was agreed that these visits would accelerate the pace of progress pertaining to the IPI and other trans-national pipelined projects.

Both sides reiterated that the IPI pipeline project should be a safe and secure world-class project, the statement said. It was agreed that every effort would be made to adopt best international practices and standards. "At the same time, international standards relating to health, safety and the environment would also be adopted in the implementation of the project.", was the statement made.

It was also agreed in the second JWG meeting that the Indian side would provide the Pakistan side drafts of the tripartite agreement, which would be discussed in the next meeting of the JWG.

The two noted the progress relating to gas reserve certification in respect of the TAP (Trans-Afghan Pipeline) project, which India has proposed to join as an observer.

With regard to the GUSA (Gulf-South Asia) pipeline project, the Indian side conveyed that they had formally approached the Qatar Government to join the project.

The discussions between the two delegations were conducted in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation with a view to carry forward the momentum of the dialogue to realize the projects at the earliest.

The Pakistani side briefed the Indian delegation on the status in regard to the appointment of their financial advisory consortium for the project.

The Indian side said that it had appointed an international company, Ernst & Young, as financial consultants and had initiated action to appoint technical and legal consultants who would support the financial consultant.

The two sides noted with satisfaction that there had been considerable progress in addressing the various issues pertaining to the IPI project since the first meeting of the Pakistan-India JWG in New Delhi in July.

The Pakistan Government has decided to join the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) as an observer, while the Indian proposal for joining the ECT as observer was under process for approval.

The Indian side informed that they had held discussions with Iran in August, after which the Iranian side had provided the technical portion of the pre-feasibility report prepared by the Iranian consultant for the project.

Both sides also agreed that the next meeting of JWG may be held in New Delhi in the 2nd week of November this year and Finalization of the Tripartite Framework Agreement by December.

First Published: Sep 09, 2005 22:56 IST