Press Releases

  • Iran-India Gas Pipeline: prospects brighten for a 21st Century Silk Route

    30 September 2004

    Energy security in the South Asian region will be bolstered significantly with the possibility of a trans-national gas pipeline originating in Iran and terminating in India, passing through Pakistan. The pipeline proposal has regained relevance in the light of thawing diplomatic and political relationship between India and Pakistan. Representatives of Iran, Pakistan and India will soon find a suitable date to take the concept forward. This highly beneficial pipeline project was conceptualized in 1989, by Dr R K Pachauri, one of the best-known energy economists today in partnership with Dr Ali Shams Ardekani, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran.

    The Scheme

    The Iran-India Pipeline scheme is a 2775 kilometer natural gas pipeline starting from Assaluyah, South Pars stretching over 1100 kilometers in Iran alone. After entering Pakistan, it will pass through provinces of Baluchistan and Sind from where two possible routes have been suggested:- a) tapping into the mid-section of the HBJ pipeline or (b) feeding Delhi directly. There will be a number of compressors enroute the terminal point. The total cost of the project is about $4 billion (Rs.18,000 crore US$ 1= INR45), for a capacity of 3 bcfd. Energy resources and management firm BHP Billiton estimates that gas can be delivered to the Indian border in 36 months from financial closure.

    Architects

    The chief architect of this ambitious project is Dr R K Pachauri, eminent energy economist and the Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). Dr Pachauri had proposed the plan both to the Indian and Iranian governments in 1990. Iranian Government responded positively to the proposal by sending their then deputy foreign minister Dr Ali Shams Ardekani, to India. At the Delhi Annual Conference of the International Association of Energy Economics, 1990, Dr Ardekani, backed the Indian proposal mooted by Dr Pachauri.

    In 1996 Dr Pachauri and Ambassador Shirin Taherkheli (a US citizen originally from India and Pakistan) worked on a UNDP funded project dealing with energy-environment cooperation between India, Nepal and Pakistan. Two politicians from each country were included in the project team. The two MPs invited to participate, and who did so actively were Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar.

    In 2003, UNDP Pakistan sponsored a study by Dr Gulfaraz Ahmed, former Federal Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to the Government of Pakistan, with the objective of identifying the benefits of regional cross-border trading arrangements through shared gas pipelines.

    Significance

    The proposed pipeline project is significant in many ways. They range from Social, Political, Multilateral and Economic.
    Employment Creation - As a capital intensive project, the pipeline stretching close to a thousand miles will generate substantial employment along its route.
    Improved Political Cooperation - To safeguard the investment interests and other economic spin-offs, the stakeholders are bound to maintain improved political cooperation
    Strong Multilateral Relations - Considering the incremental dependence on energy and the involvement of multiple participants in the project, all stakeholders are expected to raise their mutual diplomatic and other multilateral relations several notches higher
    Energy Security - India and Pakistan are increasingly import-dependent for their energy needs. At a time of possible energy crises, an alliance through pipeline for energy security makes good economic sense.

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