TEHRAN (FNA)- India will soon start negotiations with Iran and Pakistan on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. The negotiations will resume after the formation of the new government in Pakistan, said Murli Deora, New Delhi’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the PetroFed award function on Friday, he said that the focal point of the negotiations would be the ‘carrying cess on gas’, which would be levied while gas is transported from Iran to the India-Pakistan border.
“We expect to settle this issue (carrying cess) in the two rounds of negotiations. We are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the Pakistan government,” Deora said.
The Minister said that the response to the seventh round of NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) was “excellent”. Road shows would be soon held in Australia, Singapore and Venezuela, he added. Almost all the global oil majors, including Chevron and British Gas, have assured their participation, he said.
The Union Government’s initiatives under the new exploration licensing policy have started bearing fruit, according to the Minister.
Before implementation of NELP, only 11 per cent of the Indian sedimentary basins were under exploration. So far under the NELP regime, 49 oil and gas discoveries have been made in 15 blocks, which have added more than 600 million tons of oil equivalent hydrocarbon reserves.
During the XI Plan the area under exploration has been targeted at 80 per cent of the Indian sedimentary basin area. By 2015, the ministry proposes to have 100 per cent of the Indian sedimentary basin area under exploration. The Government is in the process of framing parameters for an open acreage policy, he said.
“The country is also in the process of adding substantial refining capacity to become a refining hub. Even today, the refining capacity is more than the consumption of petroleum products and our exports of oil products constitute the single largest export item from the country,” he said.
On the issue of oil price hike, Deora said that in spite major of crude price escalation, the country is prepared to take the price hike. The foreign exchange and foreign remittances levels are high, which is a good indicator, he said.