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GAIL hints Burma's gas pipeline to pass through Mizoram

Hrishikesh Saikia
From Mizzima News, India
October 4, 2005
link to this article.

India is likely to build the proposed gas pipeline project with Burma through the north-eastern State of Mizoram instead of Bangladesh a Gas Authority India Limited (GAIL) executive said today.

During a press conference in Guwahati, Prashanto Banerjee, the chairman-cum-managing director of GAIL, which is in charge of executing the ambitious venture, said the routing of the pipeline through Bangladesh was as good as shelved because of a number of constraints.

"It is most likely that the project would be routed through Mizoram," he said.

Prashanto, who was addressing the media after a session in the two-day Energy Summit that started in Guwahati today, did not elaborate on the reasons for choosing Mizoram over Bangladesh saying the company was reluctant to work through a third country.

"Our past experiences have shown that problems crop up naturally whenever we have to work in a third country," he said.

GAIL has been awarded shares in two offshore blocks in Burma - A1 and A2 - following bilateral agreements. Prashanto said the A2-block shares were awarded only yesterday.

"We are also exploring the prospects of more gas reserves in Burma," he said.

Prashanto said following clearance for preliminary work, the project should be ready by 2008.

Re-routing the pipeline through the North-east has been demanded by various groups in the area, who feel that such a move would serve the interests of the region better and say it would be cost-effective.

The proposed pipeline would now enter India from Burma through Mizoram and would go up to West Bengal after passing through Assam.

GAIL will also be executing a Rs 5,500-crore (one crore is equal to 10 million) gas cracker project in Assam. "We should be starting the project after about 48 months," Prashanto said.

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