ISLAMABAD: High officials of Pakistan and Turkmenistan are set to meet next week to hold negotiations for removing all impediments and setting a timeline to kick off construction work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) pipeline project.
The two countries have already signed terms of the Host Government Agreement (HGA) and now they will engage in discussions on the HGA next week.
A full version of the HGA is being developed and the agreed draft will be tabled before the cabinet for formal approval. HGA will authorise Tapi Pipeline Company Limited to implement and operate Pakistan’s segment of the pipeline project over the next 25 years.
In this regard, the government of Pakistan will give certain concessions and permission to Tapi Company including travel concessions covering visas and permits, opening a branch office in Pakistan, investment protection and facilitation.
Moreover, the government is ready to facilitate the implementation of the project through the provision of land and by allowing remittance of foreign currency.
“Critical discussions will be held whereas Pakistan has already given assurances that it will press ahead with the project,” said Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) Managing Director Mobin Saulat.
“All impediments will be removed and timelines will be set to kick off work on the project in the wake of the visit of Turkmenistan officials.”
Tapi gas pipeline is aimed at bringing natural gas from Galkynysh and adjacent gas fields in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
In order to strengthen the common understanding reached by relevant countries and to execute the project, the Inter-Governmental Agreement and Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA) were inked on December 11, 2010.
GPFA has provided protection and ensured facilitation to the project company in the execution and implementation of the project.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved the execution of the Tapi Shareholders Agreement as well as the Investment Agreement, by contributing 5% of equity share to the project company, which has been incorporated by the four Tapi pipeline stakeholder.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in Turkmenistan on December 30, 2015.
Following the execution of the Tapi Shareholders Agreement and Investment Agreement, Tapi Pipeline Company completed the front-end engineering design and feasibility study on the project.
The process for the award of lead items and engineering, procurement and construction contracts is at the final stage. To fund the project, Tapi Company had also engaged with multilateral development agencies, export credit agencies and commercial banks for the financial close, which was expected to be achieved by June 2019.
The Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) had constituted a committee comprising representatives and focal persons of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue and Board of Investment to negotiate and finalise terms of the HGA.