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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom Expresses Interest In Pipeline From Iran to India

TEHRAN, Iran -- Gazprom is interested in taking part in building and managing a proposed $7 billion gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan, a company official said Saturday.

Iran, India and Pakistan are expected to sign a key agreement on pricing in June that will help the pipeline project take off.

But an Indian official said in April that New Delhi had yet to make a final decision on the pipeline from Iran via Pakistan, which has been opposed by the United States.

"One of the big projects Russia can play a role in is the pipeline that transfers Iranian gas to Pakistan and India," the head of Gazprom's office in Tehran, Abubakir Shamuzov told Shana news agency, the Iranian Oil Ministry's web site.

"This pipeline can even go as far as to China because this region has a big population and is a big market," he said. "I believe this pipeline should be constructed and Gazprom will most likely be a partner of this project."

Last month, a senior Iranian official suggested that it would welcome any Gazprom involvement in the planned gas link, saying it would speed progress.

Gholamhossein Nozari, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, did not say whether Iran had been in contact with Gazprom on the issue or give details on what kind of participation he had in mind.

The pipeline project, which aims to feed the growing energy needs of the subcontinent, has made slow progress in part due to political tensions between India and Pakistan.

Iran sits atop the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia. But sanctions, politics and construction delays have slowed its gas development, and analysts say it is unlikely to become a major exporter for a decade.

Apart from the pipeline, New Delhi is also negotiating with Iran to secure a deal that would see Tehran supply 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year over a 25-year period from 2009.