Panaji: India and Russia have agreed to explore building the most expensive pipeline of the world costing close to US $ 25 billion to carry natural gas from Siberia to the world’s third biggest energy consuming nation. The officials said that the pipeline is to connect Russian gas grid to India through a 4,500 km to 6,000 km pipeline.
The shortest route will entail bringing the pipeline through Himalayas into Northern India. This route poses several technical challenges.
The pipeline alternately, can come via Central Asian nations, Iran and Pakistan into Western India. But, the route will be expensive when compared to the long discussed but shorter and cheaper Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. They said that Tehran may suggest India take its gas through IPI rather than building such an expensive pipeline.
The third and the longest alternative is to lay a pipeline through China and Myanmar into North East India bypassing Bangladesh.
As per the preliminary cost estimate prepared by state-owned Engineers India Ltd, which yesterday signed an agreement with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom for studying the Russia-India pipeline, the longest route of 6,000 km may cost close to US $ 25 billion.
According to Engineers India Ltd., the cost of transporting gas may be US $ 12 per million British thermal unit.
The Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed in the presence of PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the India-Russia Annual Summit on sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit here, also envisages roping in GAIL India Ltd., ONGC Videsh Ltd, and Petronet LNG Ltd for the study.
According to the sources that natural gas produced in East Siberian fields is to be pumped into Russian gas grid which would be connected to India through the cross-country pipeline network.
The cost of transporting gas via the long discussed IPI pipeline is less than US $ 1 per mm Btu, the same for the Turkeministan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline is around US $ 2 per mm Btu.
As per the industry experts that a realistic transportation cost would be US $ 4 per mm Btu for the Russia-India gas pipeline. This does not includes the transit fee to be paid to nations through which the pipeline will pass.
Indian companies have snapped up stakes in production assets in Siberian fields.