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Indian Oil Minister to Discuss Stalled Gas Deal with Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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NEW DELHI (AFP) -India’s oil minister will be in Iran on Thursday hoping to salvage a 22-billion dollar deal to import natural gas which remains deadlocked over pricing, a report said Wednesday.

Oil Minister Murli Deora, who is on a week-long visit to Syria, Algeria and Egypt, will stop over in Tehran on his way back home, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.

India is supposed to get five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually over a 25-year period from 2009 under a 22-billion-dollar-agreement signed in Tehran in June 2005.

But the agreement has since hit a snag over pricing, with reports last week saying Iran had decided to ask for more money — at least 5.1 dollars per million British thermal unit (mBtu) instead of the agreed 3.2 dollars.

Late last year, Deora said India was willing to consider a new price provided that it was not too steep.

New Delhi could also offer a higher price for an additional 2.5 million tonnes of gas, separate from the five million tonnes originally agreed to, PTI said.

Besides the 2005 agreement, Deora is also likely to discuss a proposed 7.4 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, PTI said.

Talks on the proposed 7.4-billion-dollar project began in 1994, but have been hit by tensions between India and Pakistan and objections from the United States, which has labelled Iran as part of the “axis of evil”.