Thursday Jul 11, 2013

TAPI gas project breakthrough likely next month

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: According to Indian media reports, in a development that is likely to give a big impetus to the strategic Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to form a company for execution of the project and give it shape by September this year.

“The strategic TAPI pipeline project which will transport gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India has gathered momentum with the Petroleum and Energy Ministers of the four nations agreeing to form a company by end-September this year to execute the ambitious plan. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been appointed as legal-technical consultant and it will soon identify a company which will drive the project. The company will be from a neutral country,’’ Indian daily The Hindu quoted sources in the Indian petroleum ministry as saying in a report published Thursday.

A decision on this issue was taken during the meeting the Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas minister, Veerappa Moily, had with Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, during his visit to Ashgabat late last week, the report said.

Moily was in Ashgabat to participate in the meeting of the Steering Committee on the TAPI gas pipeline project.

Following the meeting of the Steering Committee, a protocol was signed in which the parties fixed the decision on the need to prepare founding documents and the registration of the TAPI Ltd consortium as well as signing an agreement for a transaction adviser for the TAPI project, the report added.

India has already approved setting up of a special purpose vehicle to build the TAPI gas pipeline as the multinational firms did not come forward to build the project.

The Dubai-based SPV, TAPI Ltd, will scout for consortium leader who will build and operate the project, arrange for finances and would be responsible for safe delivery of gas through the pipeline that will traverse militancy-infested areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

TAPI Ltd is required to have an initial contribution of $20 million that is $5 million from an identified entity from each of the four participating countries.

While Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan were of the view that the four promoters could build and operate the pipeline on their own, India has insisted that the project be taken up only if a multinational company leads it.

Earlier, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan said that present government was bent on overcome the energy crisis in Pakistan by launching different projects, including Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

This he said during his visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from July 8 to 10, as head of Pakistan delegation to attend the meeting of the Steering Committee of TAPI Gas Pipeline Project.

The meeting, held on July 9, was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan/ Incharge, Oil & Gas Industry and Mineral Resources, Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov, said a statement issued here.

Delegations from other TAPI member states also participated in the meeting. The Steering Committee reaffirmed its commitment to the timely implementation of the project.

Prior to the Steering Committee meeting, of the Technical Working Group (TWG) held its meeting on July 7-9.

The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and both the sides discussed a number of issues related to the enhancement of bilateral relations with special focus on the implementation of TAPI Gas Pipeline Project.

The two sides expressed satisfaction on the current state of the project and hoped that its implementation will help Pakistan and other buyers in meeting their energy requirements and will lead to the economic development of the region.

The Minister of State also held a meeting with Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan who is Incharge of Oil & Gas Industry and Mineral Resources, on July 8, 2013.