India willing to sell LNG to Pakistan: Pradhan

India willing to sell LNG to Pakistan: Pradhan

India is willing to sell gas to Pakistan, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said on Friday.

“Our public sector units are strong enough to sell LNG to Pakistan’s domestic sector at a cheaper rate than what the neighbouring nation is buying at currently,” he said.

He, however, maintained that it was a diplomatic and geopolitical issue. A proposal to sell gas to Pakistan has been on hold since last year due to strained relations between the two nations.

Pradhan was speaking at the Urja Sangam 2015 here on the theme ‘Framing Energy Security – sustainability and responsible energy investments’.

Last year, GAIL India and Inter State Gas Systems, Pakistan, had almost concluded a pact for supply of 5 million metric standard cubic metre a day (MMSCMD) of lean gas to Pakistan for a period of 5 years. However, negotiations stalled after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled a round of diplomatic talks with the country last August.

Modi was upset as the Pakistani High Commissioner to India had held talks with separatist leaders prior to the proposed meet.

According to the deal, the LNG to be sold to Pakistan would be imported through terminals in Maharashtra or Gujarat and transported to Jalandhar using GAIL’s existing pipeline network. It would then have to be gassified to send to Pakistan.

Stressing on the importance of ties with neighbours in the area of energy, Pradhan said that while India could not be ignored at the world stage because of its sheer market size, “our responsibility is towards our neighbouring nations as well”, he said.

The country has engaged with neighbours such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. “Energy from India’s hydrocarbons is reaching Bangladesh. Can we impact the world with our hydrocarbon…that is our challenge,” he said.

On India’s policy in shale gas exploitation especially in research and development, Pradhan said, “The US can’t be compared with India. Diversification is a must and ONGC has signed long term MoUs with IITs. The youth must think about what can be done with biofuel, and other non-conventional sources of energy.”

Speaking at the same event, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said investments worth $70 billion was expected in the hydrocarbons sector in the 12{+t}{+h} Plan period (2012-2017). In the energy sector 100 per cent FDI is allowed through the automatic route.

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