India to assess viability of crude oil import from Kazakhstan

NEW DELHI: India will conduct a feasibility study to import crude oil and gas from Kazakhstan through a pipeline or as LNG in ships, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

Kazakhstan is land-locked from three sides. The other side is the Caspian Sea, which essentially is like a large, deep pond surrounded by countries on all sides.
Transporting oil from Kazakhstan will involve taking it to Iran via Caspian Sea or land route.

Then, it has to be transported through the entire length of Iran, most likely by a pipeline, to a port on Persian Gulf for further transportation by ship or by an undersea pipeline to India.

Gas too would have to move by pipeline from Kazakhstan to Iranian port for either converting into LNG and transportation by ship or moving it further by an under-sea pipeline.

"Various proposals are currently under discussions between the two sides. We also agreed to conduct a feasibility study on transportation of crude oil and gas from Kazakhstan to India via pipeline or as LNG," he said at India-Kazakhstan Inter-Government Commission meeting.

Pradhan said cooperation in the energy sector was a major focus of deliberations at today's meeting.

ONGC Videsh Ltd, he said, will commence exploratory drilling in the Satpayev block in the Caspian Sea next month.

"We also reviewed developments in trade and investment. It was decided that we would work together within the framework of the Joint Study group to consider the feasibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Kazakhstan is a member," he said.

Kazakhstan Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik said the central Asian nation plans to supply energy resources to a growing Indian economy.

Pradhan said India and Kazakhstan have decided to establish a Joint Working Group to look at transport and logistics linkages.

"With the opening of the rail link between Iran-Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, we will explore the possibility of this route being developed as a linked corridor to the International North South Transport Corridor(INSTC)," he said.

Also discussed at the meeting was cooperation in other sectors like health, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, tourism, civil aviation, mining, textiles as well as sports.

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