First gas flow expected
India, Pakistan and Iran who have been meeting bilaterally so far will hold a trilateral meeting for the first time in February next year in Tehran. This meeting will address the issues pertaining to the $ 7 billion project encompassing the integrated feasibility study, project structure and tripartite framework agreement.
"The project structure and the framework agreement among India, Pakistan and Iran will be finalised by April 2006," Petroleum Secretary S C Tripathi told mediapersons here after the two-day meeting of the Indo-Pak Joint Working Group on the ambitious project.
The Pakistani side led by Petroleum Secretary Ahmad Waqar said a technical sub-working group will be set up to sort out issues like transportation tariff, transit fee payable to Pakistan, system configuration, pipeline route and pricing mechanism.
At the beginning when the gas flows start at the end of 2010, India is expected to draw 60 million standard cubic meters per day from the pipeline project extending over 2100 Km and ramp it up to 90 mmscmd in the next three years while Pakistan will start with 30 mmscmd and double its offtake by 2013.
"We have achieved good progress and we will continue to meet to finalise all outstanding issues. This project is essential for economic growth and energy security of both countries," Mr Waqar observed.
He disclosed that Pakistan will appoint consultants in two weeks time to advise it on financial, technical, legal and commercial issues on the pipeline project.
India has already appointed financial and technical consultants and will in the next few days appoint a legal consultant.
"We don't see any stumbling block. We are moving ahead and God willing, the project will see the light of the day," Mr Waqar added.
Mr Tripathi said India requires the project for its energy security and was moving ahead in keeping with the directions of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He drew attention to Iran identifying certain blocks of gas in the gigantic South Pars field in the Persian Gulf which would be dedicated to the proposed gas pipeline project. Tehran had also agreed to international certification of the reserves.