By Kamila Aliyeva
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project initiated by the energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan which strives to expand its gas export routes has shown some progress recently.
The project's development became a hot topic for discussion during the visit of Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov to Islamabad.
During his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan once again reconfirmed its interest in early completion of energy projects with Turkmenistan. Abbasi also appreciated the progress made on TAPI project.
The Turkmen foreign minister was accompanied by Energy Minister Charymyrat Purchekov, State Minister of Turkmengaz Myrat Archayev and CEO of TAPI Pipeline Company Limited Muhammetmyrat Amanov.
Meredov informed the prime minister on the current status of TAPI gas pipeline and other energy projects including proposals for electricity transmission line and fiber optic connectivity.
He invited Pakistani companies to participate in the tenders floated by Turkmenistan for TAPI.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has set up a working commission to coordinate the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project (TAPI), the state agency reported on January 15.
The commission is created “in order to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline projects, transport corridors and energy bridges along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, as well as coordination of the relevant activities.”
In the second half of February 2018, the ceremony of laying the Afghan section of the pipeline, the fiber-optic communication line along the same route, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan power transmission line and the commissioning of the Serhetabat-Turgundi railroad.
Earlier, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited the heads of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the ceremony of laying the Afghan section of TAPI.
The construction of the Turkmen section of the TAPI was launched in December 2015. The total length of the pipeline is 1,814 kilometers, including 214 kilometers in the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 kilometers in Afghanistan, 826 kilometers of Pakistan to the settlement of Fazilka on the border with India. The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion.
Currently, the Turkmen section of the gas pipeline is being laid in line with the schedule. Completion of the construction of this site is planned for the end of 2018.
The pipeline will run from Galkynysh – the largest gas field in Turkmenistan – through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border.
For the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, a consortium - TAPI Pipeline Company Limited - was established and the state concern Turkmengaz was elected as the leader.
The main problems for the project’s implementation largely considered to be financing and security issues as the pipeline is to pass through the territory of Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Japanese government expressed their interest in financing TAPI.
The Islamic Development Bank has already allocated a loan worth $700 million for Turkmenistan to construct its TAPI section.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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