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Myanmar-India pipeline discussions tomorrow

From The Hindustan Times, India
July 5, 2005
link to this article.

India and Myanmar will discuss laying of a 1-billion dollar pipeline for transporting natural gas found in offshore Myanmar to India via Bangaldesh.

Besides the pipeline, Indian interest in exploration for oil and gas in Myanmar, particularly in onshore blocks, is likely to figure prominently during day-long discussions Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar will have with visiting Myanmarese Energy Minister Lun Thi here tomorrow, officials said.

Though the three countries had in-principle agreement on a pipeline originating from Arakan in Myanmar to Kolkata, not much progress has been made due to pre-conditions set by Bangladesh for allowing its passage through its territory.

Officials said India's Foreign Ministry has opposed acceding to Bangladeshi demand for a trade and power corridor to Nepal and Bhutan and its instance of New Delhi taking measures to reduce Dhaka's trade deficit with India, which stands at a staggering two-billion dollars.

"Aiyar and Lun Thi will discuss way forward on the pipeline which is to bring India's share of natural gas found in A-1 field in offshore Myanmar," an official said.

Also to figure during discussions would be Myanmar's demand for 4-5 dollars per million British thermal unit (mBtu) price for gas to be exported to India. The price sought by Yangoon is 30 per cent more than free market price in India.

Aiyar will also take up the issue of ban by Myanmar on foreign companies bidding for onshore blocks. Oil India Ltd, Indian Oil Corp and GAIL had submitted bids for onshore exploration blocks RSF-6 and RSF-9 last month.

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