A final round of negotiations on transit fees for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline is set for May, a Pakistani official told United Press International.
The United States backs the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas option over an Iranian plan to move gas from the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf. The country’s largest bank National Bank of Pakistan and the country’s largest exploration company Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and a Chinese bank have already refused to finance it due to possible sanctions by the US.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain said some of the parties had expressed satisfaction with a transit fee of 49.5 cents per million metric British thermal unit.
“A final round of negotiations will be held in
the last week of May in Ashgabat to lock down the agreement,” he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.
A report from the Pakistani media last week said the meeting was scheduled for early May and that Afghanistan had expressed reluctance in the project.
Hussain, reports Platts, said the pricing formula discussed for TAPI could make it less expensive when compared to the Iranian pipeline.
TAPI is slated to get natural gas from the Dauletabad field in southern Turkmenistan, though Platts reports it may be sourced from its counterpart field, South Yolotan-Osman.
The pipeline could move natural gas to Pakistan as early as 2016.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.