Iran, India shake hands on energy

Both sides express a desire to reach the "appropriate results" on energy.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 7:03 AM
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Feb. 19 (UPI) -- After signing a handful of agreements in India, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country was ready to meet the country's energy needs.

The Iranian president led a delegation to India last week, rounding up his visit by signing around a dozen memoranda of understanding. A joint statement from a meeting between Rouhani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined "long-term" partnerships and a desire to reach "appropriate results on energy cooperation."

India has long been on the Iranian radar as a potential natural gas customer. A pipeline from Iran, though Pakistan and to India has been put on the table at various times over the last decade, though geopolitical fissures between Iran and the West have complicated the effort.

New Delhi in late 2017 hosted an annual IHS-CERA conference. From the sidelines, Terence Ang, a senior analyst for Wood Mackenzie, said demand for India should outpace domestic supplies, especially for natural gas. To meet the shortage, Wood Mackenzie expects the appetite for liquefied natural gas will increase 36 percent when compared with three years ago.

The market footprint for LNG is expanding, especially for countries sensitive to geopolitical issues. The long-awaited gas pipeline from Iran has yet to materialize for India, as has a similar Western-backed project from Turkmenistan.

A report from General Electric, which has operations in both renewable and conventional energy resources, said the Indian government has ambitious plans to boost oil and gas production, but has fallen short of its goals in the past. GE estimated that India could exhaust its proven resources within the next 25 years, but added that barely a quarter of the country's reserves have been explored.

The Iranian president said his country, with its vast oil and gas reserves, could step up to meet India's needs.

"Iran can meet India's energy needs within the framework of long-term strategic contracts," he was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.

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