Gas from TAPI likely to flow in five years: Official

August 18th, 2012 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Gas from the ambitious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is expected to start flowing into energy-starved India in another five years, official sources said.

India in May signed the gas sales-purchase agreement for the $7.6 billion gas pipeline project that is to begin in Turkmenistan and pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan before terminating in India.

According to official sources, the next stage of the project is to go for a “consortium approach” to build and operate the project. “The consortium will go for road shows to tell international companies and financiers to invest in the project,” the source said Friday.

He said that the process of selecting the consortium, funding of the 1,680-km pipeline and other aspects will take around a year.

“And by 2017, we hope the gas will start flowing,” the source added.

The TAPI pipeline is to run from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas fields to Afghanistan. It will run alongside the highway from Herat to Kandahar and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan. The final destination of the pipeline is to be Fazilka near the India-Pakistan border.

The pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million metric standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) of gas for a 30-year period. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.

He said the pricing of the gas from TAPI was a “confidential issue”. To a question on security of the pipeline, which could be a target of terrorist attacks, the official said Afghanistan and Pakistan “have assured security” to the pipeline.

Asked about the fate of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, the official said the project which had begun taking shape in 2006-07, has “still not grown up”.

According to the source, one drawback in the IPI project was the involvement of countries in building the 2,775-km pipeline, rather than going for a consortium approach. He said the price negotiations with India on the gas were “not agreeable”. “There have been no further talks,” he said, adding “it is still on the table”.

“It is now only IP (Iran-Pakistan). India is not there,” he said.

Iran and Pakistan signed a bilateral deal in 2010 for construction of the pipeline project without India’s participation. India had voiced concerns over security of the pipeline.

The 2,775-km pipeline was proposed to start from Asalouyeh and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it was proposed to pass through the restive Balochistan province and Sindh and extend to India.

At present India imports around 80 percent of its petroleum. The import of natural gas stands at 10 percent and the government is keen to increase that to 25 percent by 2013, he said.

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