India, Pakistan need gas links to Middle East

Apr 16, 1997 02:00 AM

India and Pakistan must establish gas pipeline links with the gas-rich countries of the Middle East in order to boost the subcontinent's economic growth, analysts said recently. "The sub-continent would be the loser if India and Pakistan do not grasp the opportunities of establishing gas linkages from resource-rich countries in the region," said Y.R. Mehta, an analyst with state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp speaking to a conference on Indian oil and gas. Since 1994, India has planned to use pipelines to import gas from the Middle East, especially Oman and Iran.
Recently, technical difficulties forced the Oman Oil company to indefinitely suspend its plans to lay a deep sea pipeline from Oman to India. Oman said earlier this month that the ambitious subsea natural gas pipeline project did not look possible at present due to technical problems and lack of adequate gas reserves.
Mehta said the Pakistani government's reluctance to permit an off-shore route survey had "frustrated" work on feasibility studies for the project, because the planned pipeline would have to pass through Pakistani territorial waters. "The option to bring an on-shore pipeline from Middle East or Central Asia to India through Pakistan, needs to be carefully examined by the two countries," he said.
Rajesh Kakkar, a senior Indian Power Ministry official, said India needs gas to meet its growing power demands. Other experts at the conference estimated that India's appetite for refined oil products is growing at the rate of 8 % per year.

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