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India-Oman Deepwater Gas Pipeline Mulled
Monday, September 20, 2010

Considered as a major energy corridor linking Middle East with India, the proposed sub-sea pipeline will meet the additional gas requirement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and India, besides easing gas transportation issues of producing countries like Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar, Subodh Kumar Jain, Director of South Asia Gas Enterprise Pvt Ltd (SAGE), told Times of Oman.

SAGE, a joint venture between the Siddhomal group, UK-based Deep Water Technology and an Indian firm is a special project vehicle for building the 2000-km long-sub-sea pipeline.

"We are trying to create an energy corridor. It is a grand scheme of several pipelines. It will connect energy producing countries like Iran, Turkmenistan, Qatar, and will pass through the UAE and Oman, all the way to India," added Jain, who was in Muscat on a short visit.

According to the plan, the pipeline will originate from Oman and will end either in Gujarat or Maharashtra. For the gas to be routed to Oman from Qatar, Iran and Turkmenistan, additional pipelines will be needed.

Gas sourced through this will carry an additional transportation tariff, which will accrue to SAGE.

"Apart from India, it will benefit countries in the Gulf region. It can feed Oman and the UAE. It will also benefit gas producing countries like Turkmenistan, Iran and Qatar. These are countries with huge natural gas reserves," he said, adding, "Oman needs more gas to feed its gas-based industries and power plants."

An earlier proposal to build an on-land pipeline for transporting gas from Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India has run into problems because of the escalating internal crisis in Pakistan.

Jain said the main sub-sea pipeline between Oman and India will cost $3-$4 billion. "We are now discussing with Iran, Turkmenistan and Qatar for sourcing gas for the proposed pipeline.

That is the biggest challenge. Besides, there are a lot of geopolitical and security issues involved," he said, adding, "We need blessings and support from all the governments concerned. We hope to resolve all these issues in the next one year". After ensuring gas, he said it takes five years for the project to be completed. The pipeline will be designed and built by an international consortium.

An earlier report said the capacity of the pipeline will be 31.1 million cubic metres of gas per day (mscmd).

Demand for gas in India will continue to exceed supply from domestic sources and imported gas will play an important role in bridging the demand-supply gap in the Indian market.

ndia imports around 26mscmd of LNG. The country is short on natural gas, which is expected to last till 2012. It needs around 180mscmd, while the supply is 106mscmd. (QNA)

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