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India signs deal for Turkmen gas through Afghanistan, Pakistan

Monday, September 20, 2010 10:11:21 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: India, along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, Monday signed the gas sales purchase agreement (GSPA) for the trans-national pipeline project, which will transport gas from Turkmenistan to all these countries.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada represented India at the meeting of the steering committee for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline held at Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat, a release issued by the petroleum and natural gas ministry here said.

Two documents were signed Monday by the four countries at the meeting. These included the heads of agreements for the proposed Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) and initialization of the Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA).

"The cabinet has already given in-principle approval to the GPFA. However the final signing would be done only after the Cabinet approves this document," the press release said.

The meeting was also attended by Turkmenistan Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov, Turkmenistan Oil and Gas Minister B. Nedirov, Afghan Mining Industry Minister Wahidullah Shahrani and Pakistan's Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Naveed Qamar.

Under the TAPI project, a 1,680-km pipeline will be laid down with a capacity of 90 million metric standard cubic metre per day (mmscmd). India would get a share of 38 mmscmd.

As per the release, Prasada said the project could be successful only if the transit fees for the gas through various countries is kept "at minimum". He added that the pricing and the GSPA issues had to be resolved to the full satisfaction of all partner countries.

Further, the security issues had to be "properly addressed", so that there was complete clarity on institutional mechanisms to address this subject, added Prasada.





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