Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Home OP-ED Editorial Gas import agreements

Gas import agreements

ECC has approved the constitution of price renegotiation committee to seek substantial reduction in the price of gas to be imported under Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline agreement. Initially the agreement was signed in the last tenure of PPP government in 2012. It was the pursued by the succeeding PML- government. Pakistan will get 3.2 billion cubic feet gas annually through 1680 kilometer long and 56 inch diameter pipe annually. However, the issue of inflated price had not been taken into account. Although the LNG import deal with Qatar is non-transparent one because of $13 mmbtu tariff and insertion of ‘take or pay clause’ yet the imported liquefied gas is much cheaper than the natural gas to be imported from Turkmenistan. India imports LNG from Qatar at $7 mmbtu and the agreement does not include ‘take or pay clause’. The committee will comprise secretary petroleum division as its chairman with members from high officials of the ministry of finance, power division, SNGPL and SSGC. No such decision of securing national interest has ever been made in the past to renegotiate the agreed terms of an agreement of shady nature. There are instances which tell that governments of other countries simply walkout of agreements under negotiation when any proposed clause of it is detrimental to national interest. India had signed a preliminary agreement with Iran to import gas through the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project in 1999. But when the price offered by Iran was not economically viable, Indian government walked out of agreement in 2009 before it was formally signed. But the last PPP government firmed up and signed the agreement without lowering its price. Such like shady deals then land the future government in litigation in the international arbitration courts ending in debacles.

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