Transit fees focus of TAPI talks

March 22, 2012 at 10:37 AM

NEW DELHI, March 22 (UPI) -- A delegation from Pakistan arrived in India Thursday for an Asian natural gas summit to discuss transit fees for a pipeline planned from Turkmenistan.

India will hold a two-day natural gas summit that's set to kick off Friday. Pakistani Petroleum Secretary Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry spoke ahead of the meeting with Indian officials to discuss the terms of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, the Associated Press of Pakistan reports.

Washington supports the planned TAPI project over a rival pipeline planned by Iran. Islamabad had said it was weighing both options in an effort to overcome a lingering energy crisis.

Chaudhry said there would be nothing formal proposed during bilateral talks. The APP said talks would focus on transit fees associated with the planned project as well as potential joint ventures for oil and natural gas exploration.

Pakistan and Turkmenistan last year reached a draft deal that would increase plans by Ashgabat to deliver 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas each year through the pipeline by about 2 billion cf when it goes into service in the next few years.

Islamabad said the service date for the pipeline depends on the security situation in Afghanistan.

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