Pakistan, Turkmenistan sign 4-nation gas pipeline implementation plan

    REGION  09 June 2023 - 10:07

    Pakistan and Turkmenistan inked a "joint implementation plan" to execute the long-stalled four-nation energy corridor, involving Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (TAPI) on June 8.

    The agreement was signed in Islamabad at a ceremony, also attended by Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a statement from his office said, Anadolu reports.

    State Minister of Turkmenistan Maksat Babayev and Pakistan's Minister of State for Petroleum, Musaddiq Malik signed the "TAPI gas pipeline joint implementation plan."

    Sharif termed the project "very important" for the progress of the entire region.

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

    "We have to negotiate with this challenge through speedy action," Sharif maintained, in an apparent reference to several delays in meeting the completion deadlines.

    The much-delayed project had initially been signed in 2010 but was stalled because of technical and financial complications and disagreements, mainly between archrivals Pakistan and India.

    The four countries, however, agreed to revive the project aimed at linking Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, known as the TAPI pipeline, in 2015 with 2017 as a new deadline for the completion of the project.

    However, the deadline was further delayed due to disagreements between the partners, and the Taliban's war against the US-backed Afghan regime, which ended in Aug. 2021.

    In November last year, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to resume work on the project in a meeting between acting Afghan Foreign Minister Maulvi Amir Khan Muttaqi, and Pakistan’s then-State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar in Kabul.

    In January, Russia's special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, in an interview with Russia 24 TV, said that Moscow was interested to join the TAPI project.

    The $7 billion project aims to bring natural gas from the Gylkynish and adjacent gas fields in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is facilitating and coordinating the project, which is proposed to lay a 56-inch diameter 1,680-kilometer (1,044-mile) pipeline with a design capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Indo-Pak border.

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