‘India may pull out of multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline project’

Published: April 14, 2012
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Top government officials express concern in ECC meeting.

Top government officials express concern in ECC meeting.

ISLAMABAD: After pulling out of the Iran-based gas pipeline project, top government officials fear that India might pull off a similar stunt with the $7.5 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

A few federal ministers expressed these concerns on Thursday in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, according to sources.

India may pull out of the project just as it did with Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline – now called just IP – after acquiring civil nuclear technology from the US. The top economic decision-making body ECC also directed the petroleum ministry to hold talks and clear out the uncertainty.

“We have informed ECC that India is keen on TAPI gas pipeline project,” Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry said adding that India’s involvement in TAPI gas pipeline project was discussed in the ECC meeting. Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain also told the Express Tribune that ECC was informed that India was interested in TAPI gas pipeline project.

Ministry of Petroleum moved a summary on Thursday seeking approval of the draft of Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) for execution by Inter Gas Systems (Pvt) Ltd with Turkmenistan including gas price formula and gas price review mechanism.

The pipeline initially aimed at bringing natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

However, Afghanistan in February told Pakistan that it does not want gas supply from the project anymore and only transit fee for transportation of gas through
its territory. As per the feasibility study, the design capacity of the pipeline is 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Petroleum ministry officials informed the ECC that capital cost of the project was originally estimated at $3.3 billion in 2004, however, fluctuation in steel and construction material till 2008 has more than doubled it to $7.6 billion. The project will take between four to five years to complete after signing of the Gas Sales Purchase Agreement.

The Economic Coordination Committee approved gas sale purchase agreement for the US-backed gas pipeline on Thursday and endorsed the gas price at 70% of crude price, cheaper than the 78% parity to be purchased from Iran.

With one agreement done, next round of talks will start on Monday in Islamabad between India, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the transit fee.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Tilopa
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:41PM

    Why would india like to a part of it?

    That will put india dependent on the situation in pakistan for continuous supply of oil,which will be tactically disadvantageous to India.

    First the line passes from Afghanistan,where anyday the situation can change to worse,pakistan has similar problems in NW frontier.It passes through some of the most unstable parts of the world.

    So i am sure that India will pull out of this project!

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  • Knotty
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:02PM

    We are free to decide ourselves and India is old enough to decide to be part of it or not.

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  • j sardar
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:36PM

    India has every right to decide about its future. India knows the situation in Baluchistan is vet grave and pipe line has to cross Baluchistan.We know the present situation in Baluchistan is not a good sign for any outside country to do business in that area. India has alternate sources of energy.

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  • Sundeep
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:30PM

    I think India should go for TAPI project only if it is allowed to pay for gas that actually reaches its border. Each country taking responsibility for security of pipeline in their territory. India needs gas, with the above condition fulfilled its worth the risk.

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  • Haris
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:25PM

    all talk from india they need the gas and they know it

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  • Haris
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:08PM

    india is so advanced it is prepared to build a TI gas pipeline linking Tajikistan and itself by rerouting the proposed tapi pipeline into Tajikistan airspace through the stratosphere around the globe back into earth and into india hats off to you india. either this or collect methane gas from your 1 billion population but which is more cost efficient?

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  • gp65
    Apr 15, 2012 - 12:10PM

    There is no reference provided. Who said this? Secondly, if India did decide that based on unstable situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan unclear how it can be described as a ‘stunt’. When billions o dollars of investment is involved, proper due dilligence is certainly called for.

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  • gp65
    Apr 15, 2012 - 12:15PM

    @Haris: “all talk from india they need the gas and they know it”

    First off it is unclear who if anyone in India said this
    Yes India needs gas. But no-one said India needs gas from Turkmeninstan. IT could get it from Qatar, Australia, US or in a few years when this pipeline is expected to be ready from its own shale gas reserves which it is trying to develop.India does not have gas shortages.
    By the way Pakistan also needs gas. SO why has NBP backed away from financing Iran Pakistan pipeline. Despite all talk, no progress has happened on the Iran Pakistan pipeline for past 8 years and currently Pakistan does have serious gas shortage. So who is all talk?
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  • Kish
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @Haris: Brilliant idea !!! Every one talks of Innovation…Out of Box thinking..Lateral Thinking…This is the Real one. BUT I suggest u to preserve this for urself to claim a Nobel prize…All the best

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  • Kish
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:04AM

    Fortunately India has multiple options and not fully domestic gas dependent economy like Pakistan or Bangladesh. However, India is increasing its gas economy gradually and in a position to export RLNG and power to Pakistan. Bangladesh will be taking power too, MOU has been inked.

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  • Abbas
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:58AM

    Until Balochistan fate is decided as independent nation, it is not possible to build pipelines through this independent state. Without baloch right to self rule, this pipeline is a dream.Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:07AM

    No real progress on these pipelines is possible until Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan become countries free of terrorism, political instability and geopolitical militarism.

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  • Salman
    Apr 23, 2012 - 2:25AM

    @abbas
    Dream on.

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