TAPI steering committee meeting tomorrow
KABUL (Pajhwok): Mines and Petroleum Minister Daud Shah Saba will be in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Wednesday to participate in a steering committee meeting of a trans-Afghanistan multilateral energy project called TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipeline.
Saba will represent Afghanistan in the 20th meeting of the kind on the $10 billion nearly 1,800-km-long proposed pipeline project that aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year and integrate economies of the four partnering nations.
Mines Ministry spokesman Mohammad Rafi Siddiqui told reporters in Kabul that setting a date when to start work on the ambitious project and confirmation of the pipeline’s construction by French giant Total SA would be on the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting.
In 2010, the presidents of the three partner countries and India’s then Water and Energy minister had agreed to complete the project.
Siddiqui said on the first day of the meeting, officials would finalise the name of a company which would probably be the complete operator.
To a question about the delay in the project, the spokesman replied that such projects took much time to complete. He added so far 18 meetings at ministerial level and 28 at secretary level had taken place to iron out the well known wrinkles on the project.
Oil ministers of the four countries had met at the last steering committee meeting in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) on November 20, 2014 and set themselves a three-month deadline to resolve all pending issues so that work on the ambitious project can start by 2015.
Siddiqui said the wining company would be investing 50 percent of the total project cost which was $8 billion and the remaining would be paid by the partner states.
The spokesman said the project would generate job opportunities for Afghans besides earning the government $300 million in annual income from royalty for transit rights.
The project was first initiated in early 1995 when Turkmenistan and Pakistan had signed a memorandum of understanding for the project.
Afghanistan, under the then Taliban government, joined the proposed project in January 1998 and India came into the frame in 2008 when on 24 April that year India, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, signed a framework agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is the transaction advisor to facilitate the proposed TAPI pipeline which would start from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas field and end at Fazilka, Punjab in India after passing through Herat and Kandahar (Afghanistan) and Quetta and Multan (Pakistan).
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