NEW DELHI, Aug 3 (Reuters): Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian said Thursday India and Pakistan were offering to pay only half the amount for Iranian gas that Tehran was seeking as part of efforts to agree a pipeline deal.
"The price of the seller is about twice (that which) the buyer is asking for," he said. The gas would be delivered through a proposed $7-billion pipeline to run through Pakistan.
In India for a two-day meeting with officials from the South Asian neighbours and rivals, Nejad-Hosseinian said Iran's price tag would benefit all.
"The price we are asking is fair and just. We have a report saying that it is a good price for India and Pakistan."
Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world behind Russia - about 940 trillion cubic feet - while growing Asian economies, including India and Pakistan, are scrambling to find energy sources to feed industrial expansion.
India has to tread a tightrope in the pipeline talks, trying to satisfy its appetite forhydrocarbons while not upsetting Washington. It faces a natural gas deficit of 200 million cubic metres a day in 20 years.