India may join Trans-Saharan gas pipeline

Jul 02, 2007 02:00 AM

India may join the $ 13-bn Trans-Saharan gas pipeline (TSGP) project, promoted by Algeria and Nigeria. The 4,300-km pipeline will supply gas to African and European markets by 2015.
GAIL (India) has been nominated by the government to represent the country’s participation in the project.

Algeria and Nigeria are promoting the project through their respective national oil companies, Sonatrach and NNPC. On an invitation by Algerian energy minister Chakib Khelil, New Delhi has asked GAIL to attend a conference organised by the promoters of TSGP in Brussels on July 9.
One of the directors from GAIL is scheduled to visit the one-day meet, sources in the company said. International companies and banks have been invited in the conference to discuss issues related to funding and implementation of the project.

It is learnt the invite from Algeria was an outcome of petroleum minister Murli Deora’s recent visit to the country. Mr Deora, accompanied by GAIL chairman U.D. Choubey, had expressed India’s interest in participating in the TSGP project.
“The meeting in Brussels will help in taking a decision to participate in the project,” an official said.

The project is estimated to have a capital cost of $ 10 bn in addition to $ 3 bn required to construct the gas-gathering centres, sources said. The UK-based consultants, Penspen and IPA Energy, recently submitted the feasibility reports for the project.
The pipeline is proposed under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative to connect to gas resources in Nigeria and Algeria, and transport them to consumers accessible from the pipeline along its route and at its terminal point on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria. It is believed the consultants have found the project technically and economically viable. It is likely that some of the European countries and prospective gas consumers may also invest in the multi-billion-dollar project.

Source: India Times
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