Naveed leaves for Ashgabat to sign TAPI gas deal

The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar will sign the Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA) of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on September 20, along with the counterpart ministers from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and India.

According to an announcement here Friday, the Minister has left for Ashgabat to sign the agreement.

TAPI gas pipeline project is being planned to bring natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to energy hungry Pakistan and India.

The heads of state of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan had already signed Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) for joint oil and gas pipeline projects between the three countries in 2002.

India joined the project in 2008 and a revised GPFA was initialled for the induction of India, thus changing the project from TAP to TAPI.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had sponsored pre-feasibility study, conducted in 2004, indicated that the 1680 km pipeline project was economically and financially viable and estimated cost was $ 3.3 billion (revised to $ 7.6 billion in 2008).

The pipeline would be designed to carry 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) gas from Turkmenistan, delivering 0.5 BCFD to Afghanistan and 1.35 BCFD each to Pakistan and India.

Pakistan would be able to produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity using 1.35 BCFD gas.

This would be a landmark achievement, as the project had seen no progress since 2008. The president of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari has during a telephonic discussion with Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov reactivated this important project.

Zardari has directed Syed Naveed Qamar Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources to expedite concluding various agreements with the target of finalizing GSPA by the end of this year or early next year.

After the signing of GPFA in Ashgabat next week, the parties are planning to convene rigorous rounds of negotiations so as to finalize

the GSPA during a proposed TAPI summit in Ashgabat.

The renewed attention to this project from the present government would lead to significantly improving energy availability for Pakistan and help resolve the energy crisis.