South Asia may need three natural gas pipelines

Sep 23, 2005 02:00 AM

Future gas demand in South Asia is projected to be strong enough to need imports via pipelines from both Iran and Turkmenistan, and possibly a third pipeline, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. India and Pakistan plan to finalise a $ 7 bn gas pipeline project from Iran to South Asia in December, which could be completed by 2010. They are also considering other pipelines from Turkmenistan, Qatar and from Myanmar to India.
"With long-term gas demand from India and Pakistan estimated at 50 bn cm a year, there is a need for more than one pipeline," Dan Millison, a senior ADB energy specialist, said.

The ADB said recently released reserves information from Turkmenistan showed a lower-than-expected gas deliverability for the proposed $ 3.3 bn pipeline project to carry gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to India and Pakistan.
"The reserves information shows that Turkmenistan could supply enough gas for the first few years but then production is predicted to decline instead of increasing," said Millison. "They will need to find gas from other fields to meet pipeline design targets," he said, adding that a third pipeline from Qatar or Oman could be needed.

Competing pipeline projects to South Asia have been on the drawing board since the early 1990s, with their likelihood improved by the recent thaw in India-Pakistan relations. Imports of more liquefied natural gas (LNG) are also being considered.
The ADB has been brokering the 1,600 km (1,000-mile) Turkmenistan project since 2002, in an effort to link gas-rich Central Asia with energy-hungry South Asia. The project would give Turkmenistan a new outlet for its gas and provide Afghanistan with transit revenues, but has been delayed by concerns over security in Afghanistan and questions over the reserves in Turkmenistan's Dauletabad gas field.
The ADB said Dauletabad had gross reserves of 1.4 tcm of gas, out of proven country reserves of about 2.0 tcm.

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