Alternate route for pipeline to be discussed today
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would discuss passing the gas pipeline from an alternate route in the meeting of the steering committee for the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline (TAP), which will be held here on Saturday (today), a source told Daily Times.
A presentation prepared by the ADB consultant on the US$2.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline would be made today, the source in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said.
Minister for Petroleum Nauraze Shakoor, vice prime minister of Turkmenistan Qurban Muradov, Afghan minister for Petroleum and Mines Juma Muhammad Muhammadi, and ADB’s representatives and other senior Petroleum ministry officials would attend the meeting, he said, adding, representatives of the Foreign Office have also been invited.
The source said ADB consultants consider Peshawar via Kabul a safer route for transporting gas from Turkmenistan as compared to Quetta via Kandahar.
“The ADB consultant has suggested that in both the routes of Kabul and Kandahar being considered by the ADB for carrying pipeline from Turkmenistan, Kabul is the safer side as compare to Kandahar.”
He said there were two outlets to pass the pipeline to Afghanistan from Daulatabad in Turkmenistan. One outlet was through the Turkmen city of Taskepri, from where the pipeline would be passed to the Afghanistan city of Shebarghan and then through Balakh, Mazar, Samangan, Kabul and Jalalabad, from where it will enter Peshawar, Nowshera and then will reach Lahore through Islamabad.
The alternate route was to pass it from the Afghan city of Gusgy to Heart from where it would go to Shindand and then Delaram, Kandahar, Quetta, Lora Lai, Dera Ghazi Khan and finally it would reach Multan, the source added.
The source said both routes have their advantages and disadvantages. The length of the pipeline would be approximately 1600 km if passed through Kabul, while the length from Kandahar would be 1720 km.
Kandahar was not considered a safe route because the anti-Kabul government forces, another sources said, mostly controlled it. “Kabul is the capital and it is safe as compared to southern Afghanistan,” the source said.
The ADB consultants suggest that entering the pipeline through Kabul was beneficial from the point of gas consumption in the Northern parts of Pakistan. Currently, all the gas flowing into the northern parts comes from the southern parts. And in winters, the north faces acute shortage of gas due its low pressure. Besides, the government would require new infrastructure for transportation of gas from Multan to Islamabad and other parts of the country, the source added.
“The meeting of the three countries and the bank would also discuss the modalities to materialise the proposed gas pipeline.”
The Trans-Afghanistan pipeline would be around 1500 km long, stretching from the Daulatabad gas field to Gawadar via Afghanistan, and would transport 1.5 to 2 billion cubic feet of gas every day (BCFD). The ADB approved a grant of US$1.5 million for the feasibility and pre-feasibility study for the pipeline’s construction.
The last meeting of the steering committee, scheduled for December 17 and 18, was postponed on Turkmenistan’s demand for more time to consider proposals made by Pakistan.
Earlier, the meeting’s agenda included only the estimation of the project development conditions, estimation of risks and how to reduce the risks, market study of India and Pakistan and definition of the demand resources for Turkmen gas. “Now the gas pipeline route option, preparation of pre-qualification documents for the members of Consortium which would lay the pipeline and operate its functioning would also be discussed.”