Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project India's new hope
Sunil Das
Feb. 13, 2006

After the hope of natural gas from Iran and Mayanmar fade away, India is looking towards new sources.

According to media reports, India is participating as an observer in a meeting on the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project to study the possibility of getting gas from Turkmenistan.

Besides the security, technical and political issues, a major concern for Pakistan and India is whether Turkmenistan has sufficient gas reserves in the Dauletabad fields in its southeast part to make the $4-billion pipeline project viable.

The Indian team attending the three-day meeting that began on Monday in the Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat is led by Minister of State for Petroleum Dinsha Patel and includes officials from the Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL (India) Ltd.

The Turkmenistan project is not being seen as an alternative to other gas pipeline projects proposed by Iran and Myanmar, especially as India would need to import about 200 million standard cubic metres per day (MMSCMD) of gas by 2020.

The Iran-Pakistan-India project is expected to supply about 90 MMSCMD gas and the Turkmenistan pipeline 60 MMSCMD gas. The Turkmenistan pipeline's total proposed capacity is 100 MMSCMD and Pakistan will off-take the remaining supply.

The Turkmenistan project is being supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Though the 1,680-km pipeline project was conceived in the early 1990s, progress has been slow, mainly due to political turbulence in Afghanistan that will serve only as a transit route.


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