KABUL (Pajhwok): Mines and Petroleum Minister Daud Shah Saba on Saturday said an advisory council to manage Afghanistan’s mineral resources had been created, as he hoped the launch date of the TAPI gas pipeline project would be decided in two months.
Saba, who attended the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) steering committee meeting in Islamabad three days ago, was talking to reporters in Kabul.
The minister said the newly-created advisory council would start working soon on managing mineral resources in a standard manner and preventing the smuggling of precious stones.
Saba said the meeting in Islamabad had decided that a consortium leader would be finalised soon to immediately start the TAPI project. He said the steering committee’s next meeting would be held in Kabul.
The nearly 1,800-km-long proposed pipeline project worth around $10 billion aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year and integrate economies of the four partnering nations.
Saba said technical, environmental and security evaluations of the ambitious project had been completed and it would be followed by more discussion in the Kabul meeting.
Asked why a project start date could not be agreed at the Islamabad meeting, Saba said: “Considering the complexity of the project, it is difficult to set a proper date for its commencement. It is not easy to bring various multi-national companies on the same page.”
It is said Afghanistan would earn $300 million dollars annually in transit fee besides finding thousands of employment opportunities.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is the transaction advisor to facilitate the proposed TAPI pipeline which would start from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas field and end at Fazilka, Punjab in India after passing through Herat and Kandahar (Afghanistan) and Quetta and Multan (Pakistan).