Indian officials in Iran to talk gas imports

Vol 4, PW 26 (14 Feb 01) People & Policy

First to Tehran, where a delegation of GAIL and Ministry of External Affairs officials is in talks with Iranian counterparts on the vexed issue of gas exports to India.

Meetings with foreign consultants were scheduled for the 13th and 14th February. The delegation returns to Delhi on the 17th and 18th.

On the trip is K.V Rajan, Secretary East and Vivek Katju, Joint Secretary East from the Ministry of External Affairs; Shivraj Singh, Joint Secretary Refineries, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas; and B.

Roy, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence from the government. From GAIL, there is H.

P Chandna, Director Planning and Rajiv Khanna, VP Business Development. GAIL's role is to provide "technical back-up" to the foreign ministry team, which is leading negotiations.

Iran has lined up four foreign consultants, and possibly Shell, to explain and illustrate the three options available: pipeline, LNG or sub-sea. "India is attracted by the economics of an overland pipeline," reveals a source in Tehran, "But it prefers the security of an offshore pipeline."Consultants invited are: Intec, G.

P Kenny, Rical, Gazprom and BHP Petroleum. This is the 3rd round of inter-ministerial energy talks between India and Iran.