| Taking positions
New Delhi, June 3: Union petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today sounded a note of caution on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, saying it would be too early to expect a “conclusion” of the issue during his visit to Pakistan, which begins tomorrow.
“Considerable work has to be done as it is a complicated issue with a large number of dimensions involved,” he said at a press conference here on the eve of his visit to Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Iran.
He said he would hold intensive talks with the Pakistani leadership on the pipeline and the ground position would be prepared to carry the negotiations forward.
The minister clearly expects to make more progress on the Iran leg of his visit, where he aims to clinch the Jufeyr oilfield deal. Iran is offering the operations of the field to ONGC as part of the swap for India buying 2.5 million tonnes of LNG. The medium-sized field has a potential of producing 30,000 barrels of oil per day.
The minister plans to include this 2.5-million-tonne deal with the earlier 5-million-tonne LNG deal for which he intends to sign the final supply purchase agreement. India will get a 20 per cent stake in the Yadaveran oilfield as part of the swap for buying 5 million tonnes of LNG every year.
On the pipeline issue, Aiyar said his talks with the petroleum minister of Pakistan would send a positive signal to move ahead with the negotiations. He said India’s security concerns on the pipeline were very important and he would discuss them with his Pakistani counterpart.
The minister said India as of now was sticking to its stand of two back-to-back agreements on the inter-country pipeline.
While one agreement would be signed between India and Iran for the delivery of gas at the Indian border, a separate pact would be inked between Pakistan and Iran on laying and operating the gas pipeline through Pakistani territory.
However, since the two bilateral agreements could have trilateral implications, a need may arise to have an overarching agreement between the three countries to cover the two bilateral pacts, he said.
The petroleum minister's business talks in Iran will carry forward Indian Oil's proposal for a stake in a block in the South Pars gas field where it plans to set up a gas liquefaction plant in partnership with Petrobas, a subsidiary of the national Iranian oil company.
ONGC has also floated a proposal for acquiring a stake in a separate block in the South Pars field.
A team of Gail executives will also accompany the minister to pursue the proposal of setting up a gas-based petrochemical plant in Iran.
The detailed feasibility report has already been prepared and further discussions will be held on the issue at the joint working group meeting in Tehran.