The petroleum ministry's $22 billion deal to import 5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per annum over the next 25 years from Iran only needed a procedural clearance from the Iran government, Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Friday.
Iran's Deputy Minister for International Cooperation Nejad Hosseinian had last month given an assurance in Kochi that the deal was on track, he said at the inauguration of GAIL (India) Ltd's National Gas Management Centre.
The delay was on the account of the new government in Tehran dithering over the appointment of the new oil minister. This had delayed the constitution of the high- powered council on oil matters.
Aiyar said there was a huge potential for gas supply to increase in the future as there were multiple sources to be tapped.
"Not only is the Bay of Bengal area expected to give rich yields, but neighbours like Bangladesh are also floating on a natural gas reserve," he said.
He said GAIL should be allowed to lay pipelines before tying up with gas suppliers and customers.
"GAIL should be allowed to expand its capacity to meet anticipated demand. A company operating in a competitive environment can be trusted to make sound business decisions," Aiyar said.He also emphasised on making progress on the Bangladesh-Mayanmar land pipeline issue. This pipeline would result in a win-win situation for all countries concerned.