IPI Pipeline: Indian minister to arrive on 21st for IPI talks
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: Indian Oil Minister will arrive Pakistan on April 21 to hold talks on the much-awaited issue of transit fee on billion dollars Iran-Pakistan-Indian (IPI) gas pipeline project.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, expressed these views during a short chat with journalists. He was the chief guest in an inaugural session of the “2nd International Exhibition and Conference on LPG Industry” here on Tuesday. However, the minister refused to answered journalists’ queries and pleaded that he has just taken over the charge of ministry.
Although Pakistan and Iran have finalised Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) on IPI but India stayed away from talks adding that it wanted to resolve the issue of transit fee first before entering into GSPA on IPI.
Soon after assuming the charge of petroleum Minister Asif had formally invited his counter part to hold talks on transit fee regarding the IPI gas pipeline project.
Earlier, addressing the conference the minister said additional local LPG production and the setting up of LPG auto-gas stations for vehicles fuelling would be promoted by the new government. It was a good indication that the government and industry were “on the same page.”
The local LPG production could be increased by 900 metric tonnes per day or by over 50 percent thereby helping ease the country’s energy crisis with the availability of affordable product. The LPG Association of Pakistan (LPGAP) and Energy Update LPG organised the Conference and Exhibition.
The minister also said LPG auto-gas stations would be promoted to facilitate vehicle owners in procuring product in a safe and professional environment. He said the ministry would work to attract investment in the sector and protect the consumer interest. He said OGRA rules governing the setting up of auto-gas stations would be revised in consultation with the industry.
The LPGAP Chairman Iqbal Z Ahmed said greater encouragement of the LPG sector was possible without succumbing to pressures for subsidies or official bailouts. He said the government must evolve pro-industry and pro-consumer policies for the long-term. He thanked the minister for participating at the conference and reposed confidence in the minister’s ability to steer Pakistan out of its current energy crisis.
Sohail Quraishi, CEO of SHV Pakistan said the previous government’s 11-month policy to equate local LPG prices with international prices had created a crisis in the LPG sector. He emphasised the need for adherence to strict safety standards to protect consumers and corporate brand names.
The LPG Conference was supported by the World LP Gas Association and the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources and had representation from policymaking organisations and from the LPG value chain.