Gas transit fees focus of TAPI debates

Jan. 16, 2012 at 10:19 AM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A high-ranking meeting in New Delhi will center on transit fees tied to a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, an Indian official said.

Last year, Turkmenistan and Pakistan signed a draft deal would increase plans by Ashgabat to deliver about 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas each year through a pipeline by about 2 billion cf when it goes into service in the next few years. Both sides agreed to a price that was 69 percent of crude oil parity.

Islamabad said the service date for the pipeline depends on the security situation in Afghanistan. The Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India pipeline is seen as a rival to Iran's plans to build a similar network from the South Pars gas field.

New Delhi wants to discuss with Islamabad transit fees for TAPI during meetings scheduled for Jan. 25.

"This would give us a fair idea about the landed cost of Turkmen gas. India's participation in the TAPI project will depend on the landed cost of gas," an official in New Delhi told The Economic Times of India on condition of anonymity.

Islamabad said it was considering its options as it struggles to cope with natural gas shortfalls. The official said all parties would be one step closer to a final gas sales purchase agreement once the transit fee issue is resolved.

"India has surplus refining capacity and Pakistan depends on import of petrol and diesel," one official told the news service. "We can be natural partners."

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