Iran's Deputy International Affairs Minister M.H. Nejad Hossinian has said that Iran is ready to bear the cost of a proposed trilateral 2,600 kilometer natural gas pipeline within the country itself. The proposed pipeline project would deliver Iranian natural gas to India and Pakistan.
"I've told the Indian Petroleum Minister that we will be able to bear the cost of the pipeline within Iran itself, while Pakistan will have to fund the pipeline construction within its territory," he told reporters shortly after meeting with India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. The construction cost of the proposed pipeline is estimated to be around $8 billion.
Iran, which is looking for a market to sell gas from its reserves estimated around 812 trillion cubic feet, proposed the pipeline project in 1996. Hossinian said the ministers did not discuss the price of gas that India would pay to Iran.
India and Pakistan officials are scheduled to meet later this month in Islamabad to discuss the average price for the gas, after which they will meet Iranian officials to sum up the actual delivery price.
India also wants to take delivery of the gas at the India-Pakistan border and does not want to be involved in the construction and operation of the pipeline.
If the project goes ahead, India could initially buy up to 60 million cubic meters a day of gas from Iran, while Pakistan could buy up to 30 million cubic meters/day.