India, Pakistan say strategy soon for gas import from Turkmenistan

New Delhi: India and Pakistan are closer to agreeing on a transit fee and a joint strategy to develop gas fields and import the hydrocarbon via pipeline from Central Asian Republic of Turkmenistan, oil ministers of two countries said Wednesday.

The statements came during joint press conference by Indian Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy and his Pakistani counterpart Dr Asim Hussain, after bilateral talks on energy cooperation here. Turkmenistan has world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas. India & Pakistan are both keen to tap this source through a pipeline via the Central Asian country’s eastern neighbour, Afghanistan.

“The issue of transit fee is being discussed with Afghanistan. A joint strategy is being evolved between India and Pakistan on this issue,” Dr Asim told reporters, referring to proposal that was formalized among the four countries in 2008.

“We also intend to have a joint strategy on up-stream sector in Turkmenistan where it is developing gas fields,” he added, speaking also about India & Pakistan hoping to help in developing and exploiting gas fields in the Central Asian country.

In 2008 when the four countries signed gas pipeline framework pact in Islamabad, Asian Development Bank had estimated the cost of TAPI pipeline project at $7.6 billion and also expressed desire to partially fund it. Industry sources say Turkmenistan’s gas reserves are exceeded only by Russia, Iran & Qatar.

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