TAPI Pipeline: Pakistan and Turkmenistan sign implementation plan

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday announced the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Pipeline Implementation plan, deeming the project crucial for the region’s prosperity.

“We have just signed today a plan to execute TAPI project, called the TAPI Implementation Plan,” said Sharif, while addressing a signing ceremony of the project, standing alongside a delegation from Turkmenistan.

“TAPI is a very important project for the prosperity of this entire region, starting from Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, and going through Kabul and then Islamabad and then to India.”

This will help the region to secure natural gas with concrete assurances and mutually agreed terms and conditions,“ said the PM.

TAPI Pipeline, also known as the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline, which will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.

The prime minister said that due to international circumstances “energy has become a real challenge”.

“For a developing country like Pakistan, we have to negotiate this challenge, with imaginative policy and speedy action.”

“TAPI will bring an era of regional cooperation and prosperity,” said Sharif, while directing the government authorities to speed up its planning and execution.

Shehbaz also thanked the Turkmenistan delegation for visiting Pakistan, “and providing an opportunity to show the world that our two brotherly countries are ready to promote our relations and expand our economic cooperation”.

History of pipeline

Plans for this pipeline have been in the works for years.

The project was conceived in the 1990s to generate revenue from Turkmenistan’s gas reserves by exporting natural gas via Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.

In November 2014, a special-purpose consortium known as the TAPI Pipeline Company (TPCL) was incorporated by Turkmengaz (majority stakeholder with 85% interest), Afghan Gas Enterprise (5%), Inter State Gas Systems (5%), and GAIL (5%) to execute the project, with Turkmengaz leading the consortium.

A stone-laying ceremony was held to commemorate the start of construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan section of the gas pipeline in December 2015.

The investment agreement for the development of the TAPI project was signed by the four countries in February 2016.

A ceremony marking the beginning of construction of the Afghanistan-Pakistan section of the pipeline was held in February 2018.

The pipeline is expected to transport 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year.