New Delhi: Government auditor CAG has sought Oil Ministry's comments on inadequate progress made in transnational gas pipeline projects including the Iran-Pakistan-India line.
Stating that in the absence of sufficient development of domestic resources import was the only option, the CAG said gas import from Iran, Turkmenistan and Myanmar through transnational pipelines was under consideration since 1989.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India on September 5 wrote to the ministry saying that there was uncertainty in import of gas through pipelines due to geo-political, technological and security reasons from the beginning.
IPI, it said, was conceptualised in early 1989 as Iran- Pakistan pipeline worth USD 2 billion. India joined the project in 2005 and two years later agreed to pay USD 4.93 per million British thermal unit for buying gas from Iran.
The pipeline, which was expected to carry 8.7 billion cubic meters of gas, was targeted for completion in 2013, CAG said, adding that India withdrew from the project in 2009 citing security concerns and price of gas as reasons.
However, Iran and Pakistan have gone ahead with the project and construction of the Pakistan section was inaugurated in March this year and is expected to be completed in 22 months.
CAG said the 1,680 km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) pipeline will cost USD 7.6 billion and carry 38 million standard cubic meters per day of gas for India and Pakistan each from 2018.
"The TAPI project has been in discussion for almost about 23 years posing a significant potential for the energy security of the country but still issues relating to price, security and gas certification remain unresolved," it said.
The Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline was mooted in 1997. The 900-km line was to source gas from Mayanmar and Bangladesh for supply into India.
New Delhi reached an agreement with Dhaka and Burma in 2005. Bangladesh however withdrew from the project after India refused to accept its three additional conditions, CAG said, adding that the line from Myanmar was re-routed through Mizoram, Tripura and Assam into Kolkata. While there were security related issue, Mayanmar in 2008 concluded a gas sale deal with China.
"Transnational pipelines are difficult and complex ventures since they involve different countries with different economic and political interests. Besides, they pass through difficult terrain, as also politically and environmentally sensitive areas, and hence, require mobilisation of huge financial and technological resources," CAG observed.
CAG, which is doing a Performance Audit of Supply and Pricing of Natural Gas, asked the ministry to furnish its comments on the issue at the earliest.
First Published: Monday, September 23, 2013, 18:32