India to tap into TAPI

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April 23 -India is gradually working towards quenching its thirst for more oil and gas. The country has decided to formally join the strategic U.S.-backed US$3.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project this week. To formalise the agreeement Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Murli Deora led a delegation to Pakistan to sign the agreement for the TAPI pipeline at the invitation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The meeting comes days before Inranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits New Delhi at the the end of April to discuss a US$7.4 billion natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India. Iran holds the world's second-largest gas reserves.

“The Steering Committee of the TAPI pipeline is meeting in Islamabad on April 23-24. This will witness India formally joining the project,” Mr. Deora told the Hindu.

Besides signing the Project Heads of Agreement, the four nations would also ink a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement for the pipeline that is sponsored by the ADB.

The U.S., which had opposed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, is encouraging India and Pakistan to import gas from Turkmenistan for their growing needs.

The 1,680-km pipeline from Turkmenistan will transport 100 million standard cubic metres per day of gas from the Dauletabad gas field, of which India’s share is likely to be 60 mscmd.