TAPI Pipeline Fast-tracked

NEW DEHLI: The framework for the TAPI pipeline project is being prepared on a “fast-track basis” with officials of the stakeholder nations; Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, according to India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dr M Veerappa Moily.

An international consortium to operate the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline would be in place soon. The 1,735-km TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mscmd) of gas for a 30-year period.

Speaking at Petrotech 2014, Dr Moily said “the aim is to bring gas from Turkmenistan to the Indian border by August 2017.  The TAPI gas pipeline is in the process of choosing the consortium for building the pipeline. Once the consortium is chosen, the pipeline will be built by 2017 and by August 2020, India will have TAPI gas.” He also said that a transactional advisor for the project has been appointed and a sale and purchase agreement has been drawn.

India and Pakistan would get 38 mscmd each, while the remaining 14 mscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan. The pipeline will start from the Dauletabad gas fields and run into Afghanistan. The final destination of the pipeline will be Fazilka near the India-Pakistan border.

“The pipeline has the backing of the Asian Development Bank and apart from gas, TAPI pipeline would usher in peace among the nations as well,” Dr Moily said.

It is speculated that the Indian Petroleum Ministry has demanded to have a US-based company to head the consortium as it will be key to providing stability to the interests of the involved parties in the $7.6 billion gas pipeline which has seen many ups and downs ever since the idea of having a transnational pipeline has started floating. The consortium leader will be responsible for the design, funding, building, control and subsequent operations of the pipeline. It would also ensure that in case of any political tension between India and Pakistan, there would not be any impact on the transit of gas.