File photo: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari
India is eyeing investments to the tune of Rs 2 lakh crore at Chabahar port in Iran in various infrastructure projects, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
The investments, however, will depend on the outcome of the negotiations on gas price as Iran has offered to supply natural gas at $2.95 while India wants rates to be lowered.
Meanwhile, three more countries have offered gas to India, which will be examined, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said during an interaction with media at Indian Women Press Corp in Delhi.
"India is ready to invest Rs 2 lakh crore at Chabahar SEZ in Iran but the investments would depend on gas prices as India wants it to be lowered," Gadkari said.
He added that various Indian companies are ready to invest in Iran in various projects ranging from road and rail to shipping and agriculture.
Asked about the development of the port, he said: "Various ministries have given their report to the Shipping Secretary and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon take a call on it."
With the US and other western powers easing sanctions against Iran, India has been in talks with Tehran to set up a gas-based urea manufacturing plant at the Chabahar port, besides developing a gas discovery ONGC had made.
On talks on supply of natural gas, Gadkari said that Iran has offered gas to India at $2.95 per million British thermal unit to set up urea plant at the Chabahar port but India is negotiating the gas price, demanding lowering the same.
The rate offered by Iran is less than half the rate at which India currently imports natural gas from the spot or current market.
Long-term supplies from Qatar cost four-times the Iranian price.
India, which imports around 8-9 million tonnes of the nitrogenous fertiliser, is negotiating for a price of USD 1.5 per mmBtu with the Persian Gulf nation in a move which if successful will see a significant decline in the country's Rs 80,000 crore subsidy for the soil nutrient.
India has already pledged to invest about $85 million in developing the strategic port off Iran's south eastern coast, which would provide India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
"If urea plant is set up there, it will result in slashing of urea prices in India by 50 per cent and cut on huge subsidy on urea, which is Rs 80,000 crore," Gadkari said, adding that he would be visiting Iran soon.
In 2013, Iran had offered gas at the rate of 82 cents, less than a dollar, the Minister said.
The ministries of Chemical & Fertiliser and Petroleum are working on the proposed 1.3 million tonnes per annum plant, which once successful, will lead to urea prices coming down by 50 per cent, he had earlier said.'
The Minister had visited Tehran in May, and both nations had inked a pact to develop the Chabahar port. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had also called on Gadkari last month.
In August, Gadkari had said that Iran has given "very good offers" to India to develop the integrated Chabahar port, which has a special economic zone (SEZ).