By Kamila Aliyeva
Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline (TAPI).
As Maksat Babayev, Deputy Prime Minister who oversees the fuel and energy complex, said at the government meeting, in accordance with the agreements reached in May 2016, the funds for TAPI have been allocated by the Saudi Development Fund.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stated the progressive dynamics of the TAPI project, the implementation of which is of great importance in the context of the formation of a new architecture of global energy security and creation of conditions for universal sustainable development, according to the president’s press service.
He noted that the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, through which long-term natural gas supplies to the largest countries of South-East Asia will be carried out, will give a powerful impetus to the economic development of the region, help solve social and humanitarian issues, and strengthen peace and stability.
It was stressed that this year the construction of the Afghan section of the pipeline, as well as a number of other facilities, set to become part of the infrastructure of the new energy highway, will be launched.
The investments allocated by the Saudi Development Fund indicate a great interest in the construction of TAPI by foreign investors who highly appreciate the relevance and potential of this project, its profitability and payback, according to the Turkmen head of state.
“Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia are among the states of the world that have huge reserves of natural resources, and this creates favorable conditions for expanding interstate cooperation both in the fuel and energy sector and in other sectors,” he added.
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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