TAPI gas pipeline project challenges and barriers
By Sadaf Shinwari - Sun Apr 08 2012, 1:55 pm
Official sources in the Afghan government said Pakistan has presented a number of conditions to Kabul and Washington in order to implement Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline project.
The sources further added, the main barriers which prevents the implementation of TAPI project are the demands by the Pakistan government and the named project will not be implemented until Islamabad’s demands are not fulfilled.
The TAPI gas pipeline project is believed to have suffered negative impacts due to political issues between Washington, Iran and Pakistan.
An Afghan government official speaking on the condition of anonymity said, Islamabad has presented a number of conditions to Kabul and Washington for the implementation of the TAPI project.
The source further added, Pakistan is using the TAPI project to put pressures on Kabul and Washington.
Pakistan’s main conditions according to Afghan official sources include an end to Durand Line and Baluchistan issues and long term financial support of Washington to Islamabad.
In the meantime a spokesman for the Ministry of Trade and Commerce of Afghanistan on Saturday denied the reports and said there have been developments and they are optimistic regarding the start of the project.
Wahidullah Ghazi Khel said, representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkmenistan are expected to meet each other in Turkmenistan to discuss the implementation of the TAPI project.
He said, “The ministry of Finance and Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan are closely working on TAPI project. Representatives from the countries are expected to hold talks on TAPI project during the month of May.”
Presentation of conditions for TAPI project by Islamabad comes amid recent reports suggesting Iran’s efforts to interfere in TAPI gas pipeline project and pave the way for selling its natural gas to Pakistan and India.
According to Ministry of Trade and Commerce of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India last month purchased the amount of gas required from Iran without considering the requests by Washington to prevent gas deal with Iran.
In the meantime an official source in the ministry of petroleum of Pakistan quoting Afghan officials has said that Afghanistan has agreed to hand over around 700 million cubic meters of gas to India and Pakistan, which is gained by Afghanistan while TAPI gas pipeline project is implemented.
However Afghan Trade and Commerce Ministry spokesman denied the reports and said Afghanistan has not agreed with any other nation in this regard so far.
He said, “Afghanistan has never sold its shares to Pakistan and India and such negotiations have not taken place since Afghanistan itself require gas.”
TAPI gas pipeline project was signed between Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan and India at the mid of 2011 at Ishaqabad in Turkmenistan.
The project was expected to start during the current year. According to Afghan officials, the length of the TAPI gas pipeline is around 1,735 kilometers and 735 kilometers of the TAPI gas pipeline is due to cross Afghanistan.