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India takes its time as Turkmenistan seeks separate rates for natural gas

Turkmenistan has proposed to charge different prices for supplying natural gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 06, 2010, 06.56 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Turkmenistan has proposed to charge different prices for supplying natural gas through the proposed 1,680 km pipeline that would deliver 90 million cubic metres a day to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, officials in New Delhi said.

"Turkmenistan wants to negotiate gas price separately with the three nations," one official said requesting anonymity.

India has not firmed up its view regarding price of gas as it is focusing on two key agreements among heads of the four nations expected on December 10-11 , the officials involved in the matter said.

Oil minister Murli Deora is flying to Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat this week and is expected to sign the two agreements, the official said.

"The pricing issue will come when gas consuming nations will sign GSPA (gas sale purchase agreement) with Turkmenistan, expected at a later date after signing of the two agreements ," the official said.

The two agreements -- the Inter-Government Agreement and the Gas Pipeline Transmission Agreement – will give political backing and cover operational aspects of the ambitious project.

Pakistan’s prime minister Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai will sign the agreements on behalf of other two gas consuming countries at Ashgabat this week. Mr Deora will represent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will be in Belgium for the India-EU Summit during that time.

The four nations have in-principle agreed to outsource execution and management of the $7.6 billion project to a global energy major, selected through a competitive bidding process.

The decision to induct a private partner was taken after Afghanistan assured to secure the pipeline through the Taliban heartland and Pakistan in-principle agreed to do so in its territory. The TAPI steering committee meeting of energy ministers had taken place on September 20 at Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan has agreed to supply 90 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) gas to the three consumers. India is expected to get about 38 mmscmd gas, the same as Pakistan. The rest of the gas will go to Afghanistan.

The pipeline will start from the Dauletabad gas field in southeast Turkmenistan and after 145 km stretch in the country enter Afghanistan . After traversing 735 km in Afghanistan and 800 km in Pakistan, the pipeline will cross into India.

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