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Iranian gas critical for tackling poverty

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Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar

Special Correspondent

Rapid progress being made with Iran

HYDERABAD: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has said that access to Iranian gas is a critical component for eradication of poverty and hopes that the U.S. will be "sensitive to our energy requirements."

Speaking to reporters after the NGRI and Director-General Hydrocarbons signed a MoU for four projects, Mr. Aiyar said work on the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project was progressing fast. India was aware of "American concerns," he said pointing out that oil and gas met 45 per cent of the country's energy requirements and the same situation would prevail even after 20 years. If the pipeline project was turned off, there would be no hope of securing the energy needed to fuel a seven to eight per cent GDP growth rate.

The Minister said there were two dimensions to the project; one to have discussions in the bilateral mode between India and Pakistan and Iran and India and the second, not to get involved in the project but negotiate with Iran to purchase gas at the border. With officials pointing to the advantage of getting involved in the project and the need to move into trilateral mode, he said he would place both issues before the Cabinet.

On purchasing gas at the border, Mr. Aiyar said technical and financial consultants were appointed and legal consultants would also be appointed. All the three firms were international and fears that they would not get involved due to the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act were not quite true, he said. Mr. Aiyar said his Pakistani counterpart had confirmed his visit to India on February 18 or 19 and progress was being made with Iran.

Earlier, he urged NGRI scientists to develop methods for tapping resources that would meet future energy needs adding "it is for the NGRI to open the key to get under Deccan traps." India could become a Saudi Arabia if a proper estimation of gas hydrates was made.


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