NEW DELHI, March 29 (UPI) -- Natural gas from Turkmenistan planned through a multilateral pipeline might be cheaper for India than liquefied natural gas contracts, authorities said.
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 Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian pipeline by about 2 billion cubic feet when it goes into service in the next few years.
Officials in New Delhi who spoke with The Economic Times of India on condition of anonymity said natural gas from Turkmenistan might be cheaper than long-term LNG contracts.
An official said New Delhi has reached "an understanding" with Turkmenistan over the price of natural gas for TAPI.
"The gas price will soon be placed before the Cabinet for its approval," one government official, who attended a gas summit in New Delhi last week, told the news service. "It will pave way for India signing a gas sale purchase agreement with Turkmenistan."
The newspaper adds that New Delhi aims to import as much as 1.3 billion cubic feet from Turkmenistan. The four partners could form a TAPI consortium next year with the goal of starting pipeline operations by 2016.
TAPI is favored by some governments over a rival plan put forward by Iran.