India government is exploring an alternative pipeline route via its some Northeastern states for importing gas from Myanmar, bypassing Bangladesh, according to Indian media report.
"An alternative pipeline route through the Northeastern territory of India, thereby bypassing Bangladesh, is being explored and discussions with Myanmar side for importing their gas are continuing," Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas of India Dinsha Patel told the Lok Sabha Thursday.
In a written reply to a query, Patel said the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) worked out by the techno commercial working committee of the three countries - India, Myanmar and Bangladesh - remained in the limbo as Bangladesh and India differed over one clause in which the neighbouring nation had made references to some of its bilateral issues with India, which were not related to the project.
The Joint Working Groups (JWGs) constituted by India, Pakistan and Iran for the India-Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project have met thrice so far and have discussed various issues like gas pricing, project structure and tri-partite government-to-government framework agreement.
A tripartite meeting of the technical teams from the three countries was held in New Delhi in January this year to discuss various technical parameters of the project.
Later India and Pakistan agreed to have a tripartite meeting at the official level in Teheran in mid-March this year to be followed by a tripartite ministerial-level meeting in Tehran in mid-April this year, the Minister informed the House.
On February 7 India has appointed SUZ Tractebel of Belgium as technical consultant to carry out a study for a pipeline from Myanmar to India avoiding Bangladesh.
GAIL (India) Ltd, a premium natural gas company, has made the appointment as per the instruction of Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry that has long been considering the optional route to import natural gas from Myanmar through the land-locked region of North East (NE) bypassing Bangladesh.
To transport gas from Myanmar to Indian state of West Bengal, a move was taken to set up a pipeline through Bangladesh. A project--tri-nation pipeline--was initiated by the Mohona Holdings Limited way back in 1997 for transporting natural gas found in offshore Myanmar to India via Bangladesh.
The governments of India and Myanmar have already approved Mohona's proposal for the cross-border pipeline.