Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India gas pipeline (TAPI):


Turkmenistan is one of the rich Central Asian States in terms of natural gas reservoirs. In 1989, Turkmenistan offered extension of its natural gas to the Asia market via Afghanistan, Pakistan and subsequently to India.

The Unocal cooperation situated in California, working in extraction of oil and gas in other parts of the world also hinted at investment in the project.

Back in 1991- 1994 during the Taliban regime, the company invested $1million for conducting the survey but it could not get the support for the project from then harliners’ regime. Those sorts of development led the TAPI project to hit a snag.

It was decided the vital TAPI gas line would be extended from Dawlatabad, Turkmenistan via Faryab, Mazar-e-Sharif, Samangan, Parwan, Kabul, and Jalalabad to Pakistan and then onward to India. However, the plan was reversed by changing the route of laying the pipeline.

According to the new agreement, the pipeline would now be extended in the western Afghanistan instead of the eastern part.

The 147 kilometres long pipeline would come from Dawlatabad, Turkmenistan which would be extended to another 735 kilometres in Afghanistan from Herat, Helmand, Kandahar provinces to Quetta, Pakistan and the pipeline will then enter the Indian territory via Punjab, Pakistan. 

In addition, member’s countries had decided to construct a road link in a move to strengthen the transit trade between the central Asian and South Asian countries.

For this purpose, they have signed an agreement back in 2001 to implement the project, and they have also formed a mutually agreed TAPI Limited Corporation.

The project was further strengthened after the signing of a landmark agreement by the four countries back in 2010.

The agreement said around 33 billion metric tons of gas would be extended to the members’ states annually out of which Afghanistan would get 16% share while Pakistan and India 42% respectively.

It was also decided to invite brilliant companies to initiate work on the much-delayed pipeline and to complete within three years but things could not be taken forward as per agreed plans.

In recent days, officials concerned from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India met in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, to discuss the launch of the pipeline in the 2014 and complete it by the end of 2016. 

In 2011, officials of Pakistan and Turkmenistan held a wide ranging meeting in Islamabad to discuss the prices of the gas and the two sides reached a mutually agreed price mechanism of the gas.

In the year 2011, Turkmenistan’s minister of oil and gas, in an international conference declared TAPI gas pipeline would be implemented without further delay.

He expressed optimism after the implementation of the project around 33 billion cubic tons of his country’s gas would be transported to the South Asian market.

In 2012, Waheedullah Shahrani, Afghanistan’s minister of mines and petroleum, visited Ashgabat to finalize the gas prices with Turkmenistan.

The President of Turkmenistan assured him of a suitable price for the coming 30 years, he said, adding Afghanistan would import 500 million cubic gas annually and the agreement in this regard was expected to be signed in 2013 or 20114.

The 500 million cubic gas would be multiplied in the next decade to one billion cubic and in the third decade it would be increased to 1.5 billion cubic, the agreement said.

Officials of the member countries signed a Technical Advisory Services Agreement (TASA) in 24th technical meeting in Ashgabat to meet the financial challenges of the project.

In case of the extra gas demand, the buying countries shall inform the supplier country 48 hours prior.

Afghan government had announced to provide 7,000 security personnel for the protection of the vital pipeline in Afghanistan, the agreement added.

Jalil Jamrani, head of development program at the ministry of mines and petroleum, said they were concern about the security of the pipeline.

He said the ministry of petroleum and mine was in close contact with the security officials in order to work out a proper plan for the security of the pipeline.

The TAPI gas pipeline project worth $8 billion would create job opportunities and multiply economic prospects in the country and Afghanistan would get $400 million annually from the pipeline.


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