By Fatma Babayeva
The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan paid special attention to the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline construction project during the meeting in Tashkent.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met within the framework of the session of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) member states on June 23-24. Turkmenistan participated in this forum as a guest of honor, the Turkmen government reported.
It was noted at the meeting that the TAPI transnational energy main line, in addition to its functional purpose, will also become a bridge of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region and at the same time a real contribution to ensuring global energy security.
The work on laying pipelines of TAPI began in December 2015. The annual capacity of the pipeline will be 33 billion cubic meters.
The pipeline, including supporting ground infrastructure, is scheduled to be commissioned in December 2019. The implementation of this large scale project will create over 12,000 jobs.
The Turkmen government said Afghanistan expressed interest in purchasing Turkmen oil and gas products.
The transport and communication sector, in particular the project on construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan (TAT) railway, was mentioned among the important vectors of cooperation.
Berdimuhamedov added that until late 2016, it is planned to commission a section of this railway connecting Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, namely, its structural unit Atamyrat-Ymamnazar-Akin.
The parties noted that there are prospects for expansion of contacts in agriculture, animal husbandry and food industry.
Turkmenistan supplies electricity to Afghanistan on preferential terms and is working on increasing its export to the country.
The country delivers electricity to Afghanistan via the Imamnazar-Andkhoy power transmission line with the capacity of 300 million kilowatt hours and Serhetabat-Herat-Toraghundi power transmission line with the capacity of 200 million kilowatt hours.
Turkmenistan has adopted a relevant concept in order to ensure the comprehensive modernization and development of its electricity sphere and increase its capacity.
The implementation of this concept has created an opportunity to increase the volume of electricity exported to Afghanistan through the Serhetabat-Herat-Toraghundi route from 200 million kilowatt hours to 400 million kilowatt hours.
Additional energy volumes coming from Turkmenistan may contribute to eliminate energy poverty that most of Afghan people deal and to pave the way for restoring political and social stability and peace in the war-torn country.
Fatma Babayeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Fatma_Babayeva
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