Asia Development Bank sees TAPI gas line in operation 2016-17
Singapore (Platts)--4Mar2011/542 am EST/1042 GMT
The Asian Development Bank is optimistic that the 1,800 km (1,116 miles)
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project will begin
operations by 2016-17, despite the many looming uncertainties.
An ADB official said Thursday that the bank hopes that construction of
the pipeline will be completed and natural gas deliveries will start by
The pipeline is to deliver up to 38 million cubic meters/d of gas each to
Pakistan and India, and up to 14 million cu m/d to Afghanistan.
"The timing is very tight," Pil-Bae Song, ADB's director of the energy
division for its Central and West Asia Department, told Platts on the
sidelines of the 2011 Turkmenistan Oil and Gas Road Show in Singapore.
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According to Song, construction of the pipeline is expected to take three
years, so all agreements had to be in place by 2013, in order for the pipeline
to meet its startup target of 2016-17.
Song said the bank's role as secretariat for the TAPI project was one of
facilitator, to offer advice and guidance to the countries and state oil
companies involved, and that its support could eventually include financial
backing for the project.
However, it is still too early in the planning stage of the project to
say whether that support would be in the form of a loan or an outright
investment, or how much it might be, he added.
The project is estimated to cost $7.6 billion.
Leaders from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in December
2010 signed twin agreements, taking the project, which was first
conceptualized in the early 1990s, forward.
The two agreements were an intergovernmental agreement, setting out broad
governmental responsibilities for the massive project, and a second accord
variously described as a gas pipeline framework agreement and as a gas sales
and purchase agreement.
All the parties involved have yet to set up a consortium that will
operate the massive pipeline project. The ADB has so far failed to find a
major company to become project leader.
Meanwhile, no gas sales and purchase agreements between the gas companies
of the countries involved have been signed.
Officials with India's state-owned gas utility GAIL told Platts Thursday
that TurkmenGas was working towards finalizing gas sales and purchase
agreements with GAIL, Pakistan's Interstate Gas, and Afghan Gas within April
Although TAPI was originally envisaged as drawing gas from the Dauletabad
field in southern Turkmenistan, recent reports from both Pakistan and India
have said that the pipeline will take gas from the giant South Yoloten field.
GAIL officials confirmed to Platts that the gas was expected to come from
the South Yoloten field.
"We have looked at the reserves of the field and are reasonably confident
that the field can provide this much volume [38 million cu m/d each to
Pakistan and India and 14 million cu m/d to Afghanistan] for at least 30
years," Sanjib Datta, general manager for business development at GAIL, said.
According to Turkmenistan officials Thursday in Singapore, the field is
estimated to hold at least 21 trillion cu m of gas. The UK's Gaffney, Cline &
Associates is expected to release an updated audit on the field's reserves in
the next two to three months, Baymurad Hodjamukhamedov, deputy chairman of the
cabinet of ministers, said.
Meanwhile, GAIL officials admitted that gas price and pipeline transit
fees would be sticky issues that the four countries will have to resolve
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