29 July 2008

Iran replies to Indian 'non-paper' on gas pipeline

Given the lack of urgency New Delhi is displaying in finalising the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Tehran has sent across a note with new proposals aimed at addressing lingering Indian concerns...

29 July 2008
The Hindu

Iranian government replies to Indian ‘non-paper’ on gas pipeline

Siddharth Varadarajan

New Delhi: In an attempt to address the pointed concerns India raised about the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline during the visit here of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last April, the Iranian government has handed over some fresh proposals and called for talks to quickly finalise the deal.

The Iranian proposals are contained in a ‘non-paper’ that was delivered to the Indian embassy in Tehran last week, The Hindu has learned. Drafted as a response to the ‘non-paper’ handed over by the Prime Minister’s Office to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s delegation at the end of his five-hour visit to Delhi on April 29, the Iranian note identified for the first time the specific offshore fields which will be used to feed the $7.4 billion pipeline with natural gas for Pakistan and India.


During the visit, the Iranian President had proposed an accelerated time-frame of 45 days for resolving the outstanding issues but no technical level meeting of the two sides has taken place since then. The Iranian non-paper is Tehran’s way of reinvigorating the process, since New Delhi does not appear to be in a hurry to schedule a meeting or resolve its concerns through technical or political negotiations.

In its non-paper, the PMO had raised a number of issues. Among these were the question of security of transit through Pakistan and India’s desire to take delivery of its share of the gas not on the Iran-Pakistan border as has been envisaged till now but at the Pakistan-India border. India also expressed concern about Iran’s failure to nominate the gas fields concerned for the pipeline. Finally, the Indian side sought an Iranian response to the possibility of the three partner countries taking commercial stakes in downstream projects in each other’s territories as a means of providing an additional layer of protection against wilful disruption of gas supply.

Trilateral arrangement

The Iranian note identifies phases 19, 20 and 21 of the massive South Pars offshore gas field as the source of feedstock for the pipeline and says other phases can also be deployed to maintain adequate pressure at all times.

It also says that Tehran is prepared to look at a “trilateral arrangement” for the delivery of gas at the Pakistan-India border. On the question of cross-investments too, the Iranian non-paper says suitable arrangements can be examined.

While Indian officials feel Iran is “not serious” about the pipeline and is only looking to score propaganda points over the U.S. by demonstrating it is not isolated, the Iranian side harbours doubts about India’s sincerity, given Washington’s hostility to the gas deal.


Anonymous said...

what is the need for pursuing Iran Gas deal?

Given that India has over a hundred billion tonnes of coal reserves, it is more sensible to dig our coal and burn and create jobs for our own adivasi and dalit labourers than to pay a distant iran through the nose.

And if you bring the greenhouse gas bogeyman here, Let me remind you that nuclear power is much cleaner than Iraninan gas in terms of CO2 emissions.

The IRan Gas is just that- hot air. Let Iran come clean on its intentions. Let Iran say that they will price the gas at reasonable levels and keep it same for say 25 years. And Let Iran give a honest assessment on their own gas and oil reserves.

Anonymous said...

If anything, New Delhi must be condemned for the lack of urgency in expanding its coal based power generation and failing to provide a basic necessity like electricity to millions of the underprevileged.

We dont need a gas pipeline whose end users will be some CNG Fitted Taxi used by urban elite. We want electricity to light up homes and provide fans for millions of poor in Indina hinterland

Anonymous said...

The Iran pipeline should be pursued with all urgency. An energy corridor to Iran should be obtained by cutting through Pakistan by military means if necessary.

Electricity generation stations based on natural gas can be built with very short gestation times on the order of 3 years.

Check out where the US with all its access to modern nuclear technology gets its electricity from -