India is in talks to export natural gas to Pakistan through a pipeline from Punjab to help the country overcome crippling energy shortage.
State gas utility GAIL has proposed to lay a 110-km pipeline from Jalandhar to Wagah border via Amritsar to supply natural gas to Pakistan, company Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi told reporters here.
Gas in its liquid form (liquefied natural gas or LNG) will be imported at ports in Gujarat and moved through GAIL's existing pipeline network till Jalandhar. It will then be moved through the proposed line.
"Pakistan has evinced interest in taking LNG from us to meet its energy demand," he said. "The export is techno-commercially feasible. We can do that subject to Government of India approval and arriving of commercial agreement."
Initially, Pakistan wants to take 1-1.5 million tonnes of LNG. "Pricing and other commercial negotiations are going on," he said, refusing to elaborate.
LNG imports into India are currently in the range of USD 13-14 per million British thermal unit and after including customs or import duty, pipeline transportation charges and local taxes, the delivered price will be close to USD 21.
Pakistan, which does not have an LNG import facility at present, is willing to buy LNG from GAIL provided India exempts it from taxes to bring down the cost.
Tripathi said pipeline exports to Pakistan are viable and should be looked at in the context of India looking at importing gas through a cross-country Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.