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Turkmenistan begins preparation for building Afghan section of TAPI

in Afghan Business

Turkmenistan begins preparation for building Afghan section of TAPI

Turkmenistan has completed evaluation of the much-awaited Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and is preparing for building the Afghan section of the pipeline, announced chairman of the project, Muhummet Murat Amanov, on Thursday at the “TAPI and Its Impacts on the Economic Development of Afghanistan” meeting.

Amanov said Türkmengaz, the national gas company of Turkmenistan, has completed the engineering and design phase of the project and has started laying the pipeline.

“The pipe laying phase will start in Afghanistan within a year. Currently we are assessing the routes of the gas pipeline including issues related to earthquakes, along with social and environmental impact studies (in Afghanistan). Most of our work needs to be done this year and should be finalized by October or November,” said Amanov.

TAPI is an important linchpin in the realization of the New Silk Road in the arena of energy where Afghanistan again plays a central role in connecting energy-rich Central Asia to energy-deficient South Asia. The idea of the USD 7.6bn (initial estimate of the cost) pipeline first originated in 1995 when the Turkmenistan and Pakistan leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The project aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year through a proposed 1,800-kilomter pipeline from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan along the highway through Herat, Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan, to Quetta and Multan in Pakistan, and on to Fazilka in India. The pipeline could become a recipe for long-term stability in Afghanistan by generating revenue for the Afghan government and creating jobs for Afghans in general.

Envisaged to be completed by 2018, the pipeline is expected to produce USD 400mn a year in revenues for Afghanistan. It will further provide an alternative energy source for Afghanistan, which is currently depending on Iran for fuel. In addition to the economic benefits that the project will bring in its wake to the participating countries, it has serious geopolitical implications as well that will further bolster Afghanistan’s ties with its neighbors, particularly Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan’s tensions over trade and terrorism are profound. The TAPI project will promote positive political and economic interaction between the two neighboring nations by providing an avenue for mutually-beneficial economic cooperation.



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