NEW DELHI, Jan 7 (AFP): The Indian cabinet Friday approved building strategic crude oil reserves to enhance the country's energy security, the country's defense minister said.
A cabinet committee gave the nod to the construction of the 5-million-tonne crude oil reserves, Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
The storage depots would be built over the next nine years at an estimated cost of 112.7 billion rupees (2.5 billion dollars), the minister said.
The facilities, to be fashioned after the United States' storage depots, will be built at two places-Mangalore on India's west coast, and the eastern port city of Vishakapatnam.
"The project will enhance the energy security of the country, particularly during short-term oil disruptions," Mukherjee said.
India, which imports 70 per cent of its 105 million tonne crude oil requirement every year, will be the first country in South Asia to construct strategic oil reserves.
Another report from Islamabad adds: Foreign Office Spokesperson, Tasneem Aslam has said that Pakistan is in dire need of energy for its growing economy and Pak-Iran-India gas pipeline programme is intact.
"We are not under any kind of pressure and we have to meet our energy requirements", the Spokesperson told a private television channel.
She said, Pakistan is pursuing different options to meet its energy requirements and Pak-Iran-India gas pipeline is one of them.
Last month a meeting was held between India and Pakistan which was followed by a meeting between India and Iran she said adding a tripartite meeting is yet to be held for which preparations are being made.
She said the technical details are being discussed by the parties to move the process ahead.
To a question she said, if the parties succeed in reaching a consensus on technical details before the tripartite meeting, a final decision about the project can possibly emerge in that meeting.