TAPI Moves Ahead

The Diplomatic Insight - - TAPI Moves Ahead -

New mo­men­tum has reached in en­ergy sup­ply. Turk­menistan would be­come the largest sup­plier of gas to South Asian coun­tries, meet­ing their en­ergy needs. The long-de­layed en­ergy project gains s sharp turn when the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony took place in Ash­ga­bat on 13 De­cem­ber. Pak­istan, In­dia, and Afghanistan are gas needs from ad­join­ing Turk­menistan, which is rich in gas. Its proven gas re­serves are just af­ter Rus­sia, Iran, and Qatar.Turk­menistan is fast be­com­ing world’s en­ergy grid and head­ing to­ward cap­tur­ing word’s gas mar­kets. China is the largest buyer of Turk­menistan’s gas, which ac­counts for over 75 per cent of its gas sales. Turk­menistan also sup­plies gas to Iran and Rus­sia and wants to fur­ther in­crease the sup­ply of gas. Turk­menistan plans to bring the gas pro­duc­tion to 230 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters by 2030 and to ex­port 180 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of this vol­ume. The eco­nomic fate of South Asian coun­tries is only change af­ter they are con­nected with the sup­ply of Turk­menistan’s gas re­serves. Turk­menistan be­gan ex­ports of gas to China in 2009 and aims to ex­port up to 65 bcm there an­nu­ally by 2020, but by 2018 may face com­pe­ti­tion from a ri­val pipe­line sched­uled to carry 38 bcm an­nu­ally from Rus­sia to China. Turk­menistan has the world’s sixth largest re­serves of nat­u­ral gas. The East-West gas pipe­line is planned to be com­mis­sioned in De­cem­ber. The pipe­line can be­come a part of the pipe­line sys­tem for the Turk­men gas sup­ply to Europe in the fu­ture, as men­tioned by Elena Koso­lapova in Trend on 18 Novem­ber. The Turk­menistan gas pipe­line project was con­ceived in the 1960s un­der the for­mer Soviet Union. Af­ter Turk­menistan’s in­de­pen­dence in 1991, the project gained more cur­rency to pro­vide gas through the pipe­line from the Yoloten, Os­man, and adjacent gas (Herat-Kan­da­har)-Pak­istan (Cham­manZhob–DG Khan-Mul­tan) (TAP). Later, In­dia has shown in­ter­est to join the project (TAPI), which will end its jour­ney at Fazilka in In­dia. In­dia back out from the Iran-Pak­istan gas pipe­line project in 2010 os­ten­si­bly un­der US pres­sure. Af­ter Iran’s nu­clear deal, Pak­istan has shown more in­ter­est in the com­ple­tion of the IP funded worth US$ 2.5 bil­lion by China. Pak­istan also has an LNG agree­ment reached with Qatar re­cently. Th­ese deals put ad­di­tional pres­sure on the TAPI project. Nev­er­the­less, the huge and sus­tain­able size of the Turk­menistan’s gas could well com­pete with other sup­pli­ers. Un­der the TAPI, Afghanistan is ex­pected to get 500 MM­cfd, while Pak­istan and In­dia are ex­pected to get 1,325 MM­cfd each. The pipe­line is 56 di­am­e­ter, go­ing through Afghanistan, and 800 km through Pak­istan up to Fazilka, making the to­tal length up to 1,535 km. Some 200 km of this pipe­line will run through Turk­menistan. Dur­ing tri­lat­eral meet­ing be­tween Pak­istan-In­dia-Afghanistan, the par­ties con­sen­sus. In­dia will pay US$200250 mil­lion in tran­sit fees to Pak­istan, while Pak­istan will pay the same amount in tran­sit fees to Afghanistan. bil­lion project that would enor­mously feed its econ­omy on reg­u­lar ba­sis. The project would ad­dress Afghan’s un­der­de­vel­op­ment and poverty. The strate­gic en­vi­ron­ment is still hos­tile to the TAPI dream. Peace is yet not re­stored in Afghanistan. The Tal­iban still pose a threat to the USbacked regime in Kabul. The Afghan Gov­ern­ment is not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide se­cu­rity to the TAPI. In­ter­nal law and or­der and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Pak­istan is much im­proved af­ter the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb launched in 2014. In Balochis­tan rebels have laid down arms. This creates good con­di­tions for set­ting up the TAPI project. How­ever, bring­ing the TAPI gas pipe­line up to Fazilka from Pak­istan is still not con­ducive as ties be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia have much de­te­ri­o­rated af­ter the Modi Sarkar was in­stalled last year. There are now signs of im­prove­ment af­ter the Heart of Asia con­fer­ence was con­vened at Is­lam­abad on 8-9 De­cem­ber, just ahead of the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony of TAPI. The es­ti­mated cost of the project was US$ 7.5 bil­lion sev­eral years ago but the new es­ti­ma­tion could go be­yond US$ 10 bil­lion and even more. With the ini­ti­a­tion of the Pak­istan-China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC), link­ing Gwadar with western Chi­nese city of Kash­gar in the au­ton­o­mous re­gio0n, when new in­dus­trial zones will be built, the im­por­tance of the TAPI gains fur­ther mo­men­tum. For the CPEC, TAPI would be an in­te­gral project, also the IP and the CASA-1000. Afghanistan and Pak­istan could earn bil­lions of dol­lars out of tran­sit fee while also re­duc­ing hos­til­ity pre­vail­ing in the re­gion. For en­ergy com­pa­nies, the TAPI is a lu­cra­tive project. In the 1980s, US Bri­das ac­tively pur­sued to in­vest in the project. Tal­iban and Uno­cal had reached some un­der­stand­ing. Now it looks that French en­ergy joint, To­tal, is work­ing be­hind the scenes to cap­i­tal­ized the project. Exxon Mo­bil and Chevron are also in­ter­ested in the project. The Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) might also be par­tic­i­pat­ing. The ADB has been act­ing as the TAPI Sec­re­tariat since 2002. On 24 Oc­to­ber, it was de­cided that the op­er­ate, and own the project. The TAPI Com­pany Ltd will be hav­ing 85 per­cent shares whereas the buyer coun­tries Afghanistan, Pak­istan and In­dia will each be hav­ing 5 per­cent share. How­ever, Turk­menistan has

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.