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Russia eyes gas shipments to India

India has one of the highest demands for energy in the world.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Russian President Vladimir Putin on hand for a signing ceremony for a proposal to build a gas pipeline to India. Photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock
Russian President Vladimir Putin on hand for a signing ceremony for a proposal to build a gas pipeline to India. Photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

GOA, India, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The Russian and Indian governments may be interested in working together on getting natural gas piped from the former to the latter, a joint statement read.

Russian natural gas company Gazprom sent delegations to a summit for five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. During a signing ceremony in India, held in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the energy company signed a memorandum of understanding related to natural gas.

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"The memorandum reflects the interest of the parties in jointly exploring the routes for pipeline gas supplies from Russia and other countries to India," the Russian energy company said in a statement.

According to Gazprom, the natural gas consumption for India accounts for 7.1 percent of its total energy mix and total demand for energy is the fourth highest in the world. India's own oil and gas corporation last month said it was planning to spend just over $5 billion to develop reserves locked in deep national waters.

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According to industry estimates, India's demand for energy grew by almost 7 percent over last year, the same year Putin first discussed building a pipeline to India with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The new gas pipeline would take five years to complete and cost an estimated $40 billion to build and run along the southern border of Russia to India through the Himalayan region or mirror the route of a planned pipeline from Turkmenistan.

India is working on enhancing energy security and addressing its growing needs for natural gas. The country's government has expressed interest in separate gas pipelines from Turkmenistan and Iran. Russia, meanwhile, is looking to expand trade with Eastern economies in an effort to diversify a consumer base beyond Europe, which is wary about Russia's grip on the energy sector.

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