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India, Iran Mull Underwater Gas Pipeline
Thursday, May 27, 2010

India, Iran are holding talks on building a gas pipeline between the two countries along the bed of the Arabian Sea to bypass Pakistan. ‘’The carrying capacity of the gas pipeline’s first leg will total 31 billion cu m annually, with the cost of construction estimated at 4 billion dollar,’’ T H P Pao, a member of the board of directors and head of the supervisory board of South Asia Gas Enterprise Private Ltd (SAGE), said, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

SAGE, which is developing the project, made the statement ahead of a visit by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to India. Mr Pao said India and Iran were discussing the delivery of natural gas produced in Turkmenistan with Indian assistance to north Iran while the Islamic Republic will send natural gas from its southern deposits to Indian consumers.

A diplomatic source confirmed to the agency that New Delhi had discussed the project with Tehran and Ashgabat and received their backing. Under the project being worked on by SAGE, the gas pipeline will be 1,100 km (684 miles) long.

The submersible part of the pipeline will start from the Iranian port city of Chabahar and will deliver gas to consumers in Gujarat in India. According to SAGE, international investors will also finance the expensive gas pipeline project. In particular, Italian companies have expressed their readiness to join the project.

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