ONGC favours supply of gas through tankers from Iran

Jan 29, 2003 01:00 AM

With Iran urging India to speed up the much-delayed gas pipeline project, the ball is back in New Delhi’s court. Now the ONGC-IOC-GAIL consortium, set up to bring gas from Iran, is also joining the issue by suggesting that New Delhi should not take the recourse of the gas supply through pipelines apparently keeping in view the enormity of the prevailing situation in Pakistan.
Hot on the heels of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s visit to India, ONGC, a key partner in the consortium, is now favouring the supply of gas through tankers from the Persian Gulf to India as an alternative solution to the much-maligned pipeline project that had been hanging fire since the past several years.

The consortium was set up in November, 2000 for bringing gas from Iran. Since then, much water has flowed down into the Arabian sea making very little progress on the vexed pipeline project with Indian security agencies raising the bogey of security if these pipelines were to be laid through Pakistan.
For this purpose, ONGC also wants to bring the proposed gas in form LNG from Iran as an economically viable alternative. “We believe that the shipment of LNG from Iran is more viable through tankers via sea route,” ONGC CMD Subir Raha told.
When asked about total investment in the proposal, Raha said these things can be worked out at a later stage. “But the urgency of the matter is what should be the mode of transportation for bringing gas from Iran,” he said.

Top ONGC officials believed that India must not waste time in mulling over the pipeline project as certain areas like Baluchistan, which would fall in the way, are considered to be of high security risks. Moreover, Japan has been buying gas from countries like Australia through ship tankers only, they said.
India has been negotiating with Iran for the past one decade to bring gas as Tehran is offering such gas on a cheaper rate as compared to other countries. The recent visit of Khatami is also being seen as breaking fresh grounds in this proposal.
During his stay in New Delhi, Khatami had called for speeding up of the gas project. How much progress was made during Khatami’s visit to New Delhi, ONGC officials remained tight-lipped even as India was still awaiting for a feasibility report on the issue.

Source: Deccan Herald News
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