TAPI project: Top US firms drop out of race to finance gas pipeline

Total, Petronas now engage in talks with Turkmenistan for exploration.

Zafar Bhutta September 22, 2014


Top US energy companies – Chevron and ExxonMobil – have dropped out of the race to become a consortium leader in financing the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline following dismissal of their demand for an equity stake in the project.

The two companies were seeking shareholding in the field from where Turkmenistan would supply gas to energy-starved Pakistan, Afghanistan and India in response to their commitment to providing funds for laying the gas pipeline, officials say.

However, Turkmenistan turned down the request, forcing the companies out of the competition to become the team leader.

Turkmenistan desires to award offshore gas extraction contracts to Chevron and ExxonMobil, but for that it needs to change the rules.

According to the officials, seeing an empty field, now Total of France and Malaysia’s Petronas have entered the fray and are expressing interest in gas exploration in Turkmenistan without seeking any stake.

“The government of Turkmenistan is negotiating with Total and Petronas a services agreement which is expected to be finalised in two months. The two firms could work as the consortium leaders,” an official said.

“After receiving reports from Turkmenistan, Pakistan will again engage into talks with the central Asian state.”

The Afghan government says it does not require the entire committed volume of gas and only needs a part of it. The remaining quantity will be shared by Pakistan and India.

“For the pipeline, a route survey will be undertaken. Its engineering design is also yet to be prepared,” the official said.

Under the TAPI project, which is expected to cost over $10 billion, Pakistan will get 1.365 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan, India will also receive the same 1.365 bcfd and Afghanistan will get 0.5 bcfd.

Turkmenistan will export natural gas through a 1,800km pipeline that will reach India after passing through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan and India have already signed gas sale and purchase agreements and efforts are under way to attract potential investors for financing the project.

Earlier, energy giant Chevron had emerged as the potential leader in a consortium that will finance and run the transnational TAPI pipeline.

The four countries linked with the project are currently in the process of setting up a consortium and selecting a technically capable and financially sound company as the consortium leader, which will design, finance, construct, own and operate the gas pipeline.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2014.

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Vishwas Gokhale | 9 years ago | Reply

This is a golden opportunity for Pakistan and India to take initiative . Pakistan has been exploited by US. It foolishly entered into that CENTO pact and got exploited by US. You were fighting US war in afganistan. Even India did the same thing. It is a proper time for India and Pakistan come together and decide the proper course of action. Because of foolish behaviour of Pakistani. You should realise that Hindu and Muslims fought unitedly in 1857 to save the throne of Bahadursha jafar. The British made 2 pieces of India and pakistan made 3 pieces of India. it is high time India and pakistan come together and take a unified decision in the interest of united India. Let us not allow americans to interfere in project.

Abdul Razak | 9 years ago | Reply

The pipeline to pass through three blasphemy countries which is absolutely not possible. Our master Saudi Arabia never allow us whatsoever to deal with Iran. Either the World Bank or IDB will not give a single dollar to Pakistan on this pipes. India has money but they are very cautious on Mullah ruling countries. So this will continue to be a pipe dream.

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