KABUL, Afghanistan – Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, second Deputy Prime Minister, said Afghanistan is ready to initiate TAPI pipeline project, according to sources, adding the current conditions have created a right opportunity for the implementation of the project.
In June, the Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansour Ahmad Khan said the countries involved in the TAPI Pipeline want to move forward. According to the authorities, practical work on the project will resume within four months.
Baradar made the remarks in a meeting with the CEO of the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL), Muhammetmyrat Amanov; and the Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Hoja Ovezov.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is completely ready to begin the TAPI project and is committed to any form of collaboration in this area,” said Baradar’s office in a statement, as TOLOnews reported.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum confirmed the implementation of the project, saying construction will begin by October 2022 – a deadline given four month ago seems to be doable.
“The meetings have been held. We may start the work in mid or late October,” said Esmatullah Burhan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, as local media reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that a technical team will travel to Turkmenistan to discuss the TAPI project with the country’s officials.
“A technical team will travel to Turkmenistan in the coming month and will discuss the TAPI project, such as how to distribute it to the industries and residents and how to produce power from it—the first phase will be kicked off in Herat,” said Shafay Azam, an official of MoFA.
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The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited with participation of the Asian Development Bank.
The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.
The pipeline will be 1,420 mm (56 in) in diameter with a working pressure of 100 atm (10,000 kPa). The capacity will be 33×109 m3 (1.2×1012 cu ft) of natural gas per year of which 5×109 m3 (180×109 cu ft) will be provided to Afghanistan and 14×109 m3 (490×109 cu ft) to each Pakistan and India. Six compressor stations would be constructed along the pipeline.
Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015, work on the Afghan section began in February 2018, and work on the Pakistani section was planned to commence in December 2018.
The pipeline was intended to be operational by 2019. But due to underlying conditions, including regional conflicts, the project has been delayed over time and now the involved countries show willingness to complete the project.