Turkmen president officially orders start of work on TAPI pipeline

By bne IntelliNews November 9, 2015

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov signed a decree on the construction of the 1,735km-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline during a cabinet meeting on November 6 as an official order to start works on the pipeline, state news agency TDH.gov.tm reported on the same day.

The TAPI pipeline is expected to export 33bn cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field, one of the world's largest fields with estimated reserves of 13,100bcm of natural gas, to the Pakistani and Indian markets, through Afghanistan, but the involvement of the latter makes it an incredibly risky project, creating uncertainty about the project’s future. However, recent developments including the president’s signing of the decree are reaffirming the commitment of all involved parties to make the project a reality. The developments also include the recent confirmation of shareholding percentages in the TAPI company by Turkmengaz, Afghan Gas Enterprise, Inter State Gas Systems (Pakistan), and GAIL (India), who own equal shares in the company, in October.

During the meeting, the president replaced the long-serving deputy prime minister of the oil and gas sector, Baimyrat Khodzhahmukhamedov due to his ill health, with Yashgeldi Kakayev, who currently heads the State Agency for the Management and Use of Hydrocarbon resources, a statement said on the Turkmen government’s website.

Turkmenistan’s state gas company Turkmengas was endorsed as the TAPI consortium's leader in September. British company Penspen completed the feasibility study for the project in the same month. The pipeline’s construction will take around three years to complete. Total costs are estimated at $10bn. 

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