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Vladimir Putin

India and Russia discuss mega-gas link

BENAULIM, October 17, 2016 – Russia and India agreed on Saturday to discuss a 6,000-kilometre natural gas pipeline that could turn into the world’s most expensive such project.

The link would connect gasfields in Siberia to one of the fastest-growing energy consumers in the world, and its price tag could reach USD 25 billion, according to early estimates.

 

Several routes are currently being considered for the project, according to reports in world media: a direct but technologically challenging endeavour through the Himalayas, a bypass through Iran and Pakistan that could carry political risks or a pipeline running through China and Myanmar. No estimate is available yet for when the link might be ready.

The IEA estimates that India will account for some 25% of world energy demand by 2040, and the country is already overtaking China as a global energy trendsetter.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by state-owned firms Engineers India and Gazprom in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the eighth BRICS summit in the resort of Benaulim in the southwestern Indian state of Goa.

It was one of several energy and defense agreements, worth tens of billions of US dollars, which the two old Cold War allies signed over the weekend, the largest being a USD 12.9-billion deal under which a group led by the Russian energy giant Rosneft acquired a controlling stake in India’s Essar Oil and the port facilities it operates.

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