The project for construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is currently the most advanced among the other alternatives.
The countries interested in the construction of TAPI pipeline believe that its construction can start in 2015, according to Trend news agency.
The issue of construction of TAPI pipeline was discussed during the recent meeting of Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov with India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in Ashgabat.
“TAPI is designed to make a significant contribution to the sustainable socio-economic development of Asian countries and in general, allow to strengthen the global energy security by becoming a genuine bridge of peace, friendship and long-term cooperation in the Eurasian continent,” said the message earlier released by the Turkmen government.
Currently, all the countries involved in the project should choose the company which will become the leader of the consortium, able to seek financial resources, sign a long term contract and purchase a considerable share in the already established TAPI Ltd.
TAPI Ltd operating company includes Turkmengaz State Concern, Afghan Gas Corporation, Pakistan’s “Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited” and Indian “GAIL (India) Limited” with equal shares.
The parties have already entered into transactions for the sale of gas, sources of raw materials of the pipeline have been defined as well, including Galkynysh, the second largest gas field in the world.
This ambitious project is promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which plays the role of its transaction advisor. The ADB has long confirmed its commitment to the project. The bank experts believe that the pipeline has enormous potential in the field of not only sub-regional cooperation but also economic development of the region.
Indeed, this pipeline will connect the energy deficient South Asia with Central Asian countries rich in energy resources. It is believed that the project will provide a less expensive and clean energy, make a profit, which can be used to reduce poverty in the region and contribute to the regional stability through joint ownership of the project.
The basic document for the promotion of TAPI project is the Ashgabat interstate agreement of the state parties on the commencement of the practical implementation of the TAPI project signed in late 2010.
The design capacity of TAPI is 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The estimated length is 1,735 kilometres.
It is expected that the pipeline will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan, Galkhynysh, through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border.
The estimated cost of the project varies between $6 billion and $10 billion. The issue of ensuring safety of the highway, a considerable part of which passes through unstable Afghanistan, remains an open question.