Turkmenistan Seeks Separate Rates for Natural Gas

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"Turkmenistan proposes charging different prices to supply natural gas."

Turkmenistan has proposed to charge different prices for supplying natural gas through the proposed 1,680-km. pipeline that would deliver 90 million cubic meters a day to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, officials in New Delhi said.

"Turkmenistan wants to negotiate gas price separately with the three nations," one official said, requesting anonymity.

India has not firmed up its view regarding price of gas, as it is focusing on two key agreements among heads of the four nations expected on December 10–11, the officials involved in the matter said.

Oil Minister Murli Deora is flying to Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat this week and is expected to sign the two agreements, the official said.

"The pricing issue will come when gas consuming nations will sign GSPA (Gas Sale Purchase Agreement) with Turkmenistan, expected at a later date after signing of the two agreements," the official said.

The two agreements—the Inter-Government Agreement and the Gas Pipeline Transmission Agreement—will give political backing and cover operational aspects of the ambitious project.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai will sign the agreements on behalf of the other two gas-consuming countries at Ashgabat this week. Mr. Deora will represent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will be in Belgium for the India-EU Summit during that time.

The four nations have, in principle, agreed to outsource execution and management of the $7.6 billion project to a global energy major to be selected through a competitive bidding process.

The decision to induct a private partner was taken after Afghanistan assured to secure the pipeline through the Taliban heartland and Pakistan in-principle agreed to do so in its territory. The TAPI steering committee meeting of energy ministers had taken place on September 20 at Ashgabat.

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