ISLAMABAD: Four countries being members of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have signed the operational accord besides agreeing to the major points of sale purchase agreement of 1,735-kilometre TAPI gas pipeline project, it was learnt on Friday.
This ‘mile stone’ was achieved on July 8 as member countries unanimously resolved technical issues of the project during the visit of Pakistan’s petroleum minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi to Turkmenistan. The minister went to Turkmenistan,which is believed to hold world’s fourth largest gas reserves to attend the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), officials at ministry of petroleum & natural resources said.
A senior official at petroleum ministry also told that award of contract would be made in next stage, while at present, two US companies named as Chevron and ExxonMobil are at the top in the race to get the contract, and the winning firm would operate the pipeline besides its financing, and laying. He added that Pakistan would get 1.3billion cubic feet of gas from the TAPI gasline when the project will be on its full swing.
The design capacity of TAPI is 33billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, while the estimated length reachs 1735km. It is expected that the pipeline project will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan ‘Galkhynysh’ through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandagar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border.
It is pertinent to note here that United States has so far loudly supported the TAPI gas pipelines project while it remained strong opponent of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gasline project.
Sources in oil and gas sector told this scribe that signing on the operation agreement on the TAPI gasline project have been made as the member countries of TAPI gas pipeline project after unanimously resolving technical issues related with the project. The project is estimated to annually deliver up to 33billion cubic meters of gas to the member countries. And, Pakistan and India would each obtain 42 per cent of the imported gas while Afghanistan would get remaining 16pc of the gas. Besides talking about technical issues, the steering committee on TAPI gas pipeline project which was held in Ashgabat also resolved issues related to recording of pressure, points of compressors, specification of gas, flow of gas pipe length, its diameter etc.
It is worth mentioning that Federal Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Inter-State Gas Systems’ managing director Mubeen Saulat had represented Pakistan in the 8th July meeting at Turkmenistan. The minister during his visit to Turkmenistan, which is eager to find new markets for its potentially gargantuan energy exports amid flagging interest from Russia, its traditional client also called on President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and discussed the TAPI gas pipeline project.
During the course of this meeting, the Turkmen president highlighted Turkmenistan’s interest in strengthening of economic, trade and cultural ties with it partners in implementation of major projects of regional and inter-regional significance, including TAPI construction.
In turn, the minister stressed the relevance and timeliness of the project, as well as confirmed high interest in its early implementation to promote development of constructive international cooperation in gas sector.
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