Turkmengas – a state energy company – has been named pipeline consortium leader of the planned 1000 mile Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.
Other companies of interest
Total – a French energy company – was also considered as a possible leader. However, after Turkmenistan denied it a stake in the Galkynysh natural gas field bordering Afghanistan, it refused the position. The Galkynysh is one of the largest gas fields; it has approximately 925 trillion ft3 of reserves and is designed to provide for the pipeline.
Plans for the pipeline completion
For the next 30 years, Turkmenistan intends to transport an estimate of 1.1 trillion ft3 of natural gas per year to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India once the pipeline is completed.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) took a lead role in the project in 2003, and was appointed as the transaction adviser for the pipeline in 2013. ADB is consequently expecting significant regional benefits from Turkmenistan's gas and the TAPI pipeline.
Meanwhile, Iran believes there could be new interest in its pipeline, which is planned through Pakistan to India.
However, the US and its allies favour the API pipeline over the delayed east Iranian natural gas pipeline.
ADB spokesperson Ayun Sundari stated: "We think a successful TAPI will bring tremendous developmental benefits to the region, irrespective of Iranian ambitions.”
Pakistan too has moved away from the Iranian pipeline project, due to its inability to generate revenue that was vital for the project development. India’s role is also uncertain.
Edited from various sources Observer Chronicle, UPI by Stephanie Roker