India and Iran to discuss LNG deal

Jan 27, 2003 01:00 AM

Indian Petroleum Minister Ram Naik is likely to visit Tehran later this year to discuss Iran's offer to sell 2.5 mm tons of LNG to India. "I will be visiting Iran shortly to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in energy sector," Naik told.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh sidestepped his country's proposal to export natural gas through a pipeline passing through Pakistan to offer Indian national oil firms equity in its oil and gas fields in exchange for New Delhi buying 2.5 mm tpy of LNG. "We need LNG. But how much, when and at what rate? These are commercial considerations which will be discussed by the Gas Authority of India and Iran's national oil company NIOC," he said, adding Zanganeh had invited him to Tehran to finalize the deal.
Tehran, which has mandated BHP of Australia to study the possibility of constructing a gas pipeline from South Pars gas field in Iran to India across Pakistan, made no fresh offer for gas export through the proposed pipeline, he said. "Iran recognized our concern for safe delivery of gas at our borders... The feasibility study for an underwater line from Iran to India is going on schedule. No discussions were held on the onshore pipeline passing through Pakistan," he said.

India would study the offer and the domestic demand scenario, particularly in the light of new gas discoveries and 5 mm tons of LNG imports from Qatar, before committing to purchase gas from Iran, senior officials have said.
Bilateral trade between India and Iran is currently worth about $ 2 bn but Indian oil imports account for almost 70 % of the figure.

Source: Xinhua
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