Construction of Afghan section of TAPI gas pipeline scheduled for February 23
By Kamila Aliyeva
Turkmenistan is preparing to hold a launch ceremony of the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in Afghanistan on February 23.
The preparations for the event were discussed at an expanded meeting of the government of Turkmenistan, Central Asian media outlets reported.
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 (Turkmenistan) Serhetabat-Turgundi (Afghanistan) railroad will be held on February 23, 2018.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that the country is carrying out fruitful work in the region to implement large-scale projects, while citing the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline as well as other important projects, in particular, in energy, transport and communications spheres.
“The construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, the start of an important phase of which we will give together with the leaders of other countries on February 23, and which will deliver Turkmen gas to the countries of Asia, will be inscribed in gold letters in the history of our independent neutral state,” he said.
The pipeline will give a powerful impetus to the development of the economies of the region, there will be conditions for opening thousands of new jobs, according to the Turkmen leader.
TAPI will contribute to the formation of electricity, transport and communication and social infrastructure.
In addition to the fact that all facilities of the TAPI gas pipeline will be equipped with electric power, the laying of power systems will provide an opportunity to systematically provide electricity to the region's countries.
Conditions will emerge for the export of electricity through Afghanistan to Pakistan and other Asian countries. Previously, the governments of these states expressed their interest in the speedy implementation of this project.
The construction of the Trans-Asian-European fiber-optic communication system, which became the most important telecommunication bridge not only in the Central Asian region, but also a link between the East and West, North and South, facilitates the further development of the communications industry as a significant segment of the national economy.
Berdimuhamedov also noted that the successful implementation of the above-mentioned projects will bring significant profits to the budget of Afghanistan through the transit of natural gas, electricity, industrial goods and information communications.
The pipeline will determine the sustainability and planned social and economic development of the region, the Turkmen leader concluded.
The construction of the Turkmen section of the TAPI was launched in December 2015. 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.
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.
Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will be 33 billion cubic meters.
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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