India seeks payment guarantee for gas exports to Pakistan

India has sought sovereign payment guarantees from Pakistan before signing an export contract to supply natural gas through an across-the-border pipeline near Atari in the border.

State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd plans to enter into a gas supply contract with a Pakistani firm, under which it would initially supply 5 million standard cubic meters per day of gas to Pakistan through a 110-km pipeline from Jalandhar in Punjab to Attari.

While the export of natural gas to Pakistan from India was found technically feasible, talks have been stuck on ensuring payments from Pakistan.

New Delhi wants Pakistan to provide payment guarantees before GAIL enters into a gas supply contract with the Pakistani firm. Besides, India wants sureties for three months payment and advance termination commitments, sources said.

GAIL plans to import liquefied natural through a port in Gujarat or Maharashtra.

After converting this back into gas, it is proposed to be transported through cross-country pipeline network to Jalandhar.

From Jalandhar, a 110-km line is proposed to be laid to international border near Atari for delivery to Pakistan.

Energy-deficient Pakistan wants to import gas from India to meet its rising energy deficit. Initially, it plans to take 1-1.5 million tonnes of LNG.

Pakistan, with a total electricity generation capacity of about 20,000 MW, faces huge power deficits as well.

The pipeline project is also looked upon as a feasibility study for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline through which both Pakistan and India proposes to import natural gas from the Central Asian nation.

The two sides have held five rounds of negotiations and it has been found technically feasible to export gas from Punjab into Lahore.