Key meeting on gas pipeline project in late May
KABUL (PAN): The Afghan minister of mines has held talks with senior officials in Ashgabat on a gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, a spokesman for the ministry in Kabul said on Friday.
A feasibility study for the multibillion-dollar Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, long delayed by security concerns, has already been completed and work on the project's design is expected to finish soon.
An agreement for the project was signed by the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkmenistan in 2010. The pipeline will deliver 34 billion cubic metres of gas annually and earn Afghanistan $400 million a year.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani, who visited Ashgabat on April 4, held productive talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the project, Jawad Omar, the ministry spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Shahrani also met Turkmenistan’s vice-president, energy minister and other officials on the multi-billion dollars pipleline, Omar said, adding that Afghan, Pakistani, Indian and Turkmen ministers, as well as an Asian Development Bank representative would meet in Ashgabat on May 24 to discuss the project.
He added: "It will be the last meeting on finalising TAPI documents and it will decide the fate of the project." The ADB-supported scheme will be implemented at a cost of $10 billion (498.2 billion afghanis).
Omar said Turkmenistan had positively responded to Afghanistan’s demand with regard to the pipeline, which is expected to bring significant economic and political benefits to the region. However, he did not elaborate on the demands.
The pipeline will stretch from Turkmenistan's Dauletabad gas field though Afghanistan's Helmand and Kandahar provinces, across Pakistan to the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka. The Afghan government will earn $350 to $400 million in transit fees from the export of gas per annum.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.