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Iran, India discuss building underwater gas pipeline
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NEW DELHI (RIA Novosti) -- India and Iran are discussing building a gas pipeline between the two countries along the bed of the Arabian Sea to bypass Pakistan, a board director of the company developing the project said on Tuesday.

“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,” 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.

The statement came ahead of a visit by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to India.

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 RIA Novosti that 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 the Indian state of Gujarat.

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.

India, Iran and Pakistan have been discussing the project of building a gas pipeline between the three countries for the past three years. However, the negotiations have dragged on due to the worsening of relations between India and Pakistan.

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