KABUL, Afghanistan – A delegation of the Islamic Emirate in a visit to Turkmenistan agreed on action plan for the construction of the TAPI pipeline project, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Last month, second Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said Afghanistan is ready to initiate project, adding the current conditions have created a right opportunity for the implementation.
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According to a senior official of MoFA, both parties reached an agreement on action plans for pipeline construction, the distribution of gas to industrial parks and residents of Herat, as well as the conversion of natural gas to LLG.
“First, the two sides agreed to form a schedule for the acquisition of land and the pipeline construction,” said Shafay Azam, head of the economic affairs of MoFA, as TOLOnews quoted. “Second, the two sides agreed to establish a network to distribute gas to the residents of Herat and industrial parks.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic (MoE) said that its administration is ready to provide financial support, adding the project could contribute to overall regional development.
“The TAPI project is one of the important and fundamental projects that can facilitate political engagement, regional cooperation and regional development,” said Abdul Rahman Habib, a spokesman for the MoE.
More than 80 km of the TAPI pipeline will cross from Afghan soil to Pakistan and India. The project is expected to provide job opportunities for thousands of people. It is estimated that Afghanistan will earn more than $400 million in revenue annually.
What is TAPI Project?
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.