TAPI gas pipeline: Presidential push for lingering project

Published: December 12, 2010
Zardari inks general agreement with Afghan and Turkmen counterparts.

Zardari inks general agreement with Afghan and Turkmen counterparts.

Zardari inks general agreement with Afghan and Turkmen counterparts.
President Asif Ali Zardari shaking hands with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. PHOTO: APP

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan on Saturday signed broad agreements at a summit on a $7.6 billion transnational gas pipeline, though the talks yielded few concrete details.

The 1,700-kilometre Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) pipeline, Ashgabat’s dream project that first appeared in 1995, has been on hold for many years due to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

The presidents of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan met for the first time to discuss the project, while India was represented by the country’s Energy Minister Murli Deora.

They signed an intergovernmental agreement on the Tapi pipeline, with energy ministers signing a separate framework document on the project, but no deal was reached on future sales or the consortium for the future construction tender.

The Tapi pipeline aims to transport over 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually from the Dauletabad gas fields in southeast Turkmenistan and could turn into a cash cow for Afghanistan in transit fees.

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai called it “a highly important project” and assured that he would “put in efforts to ensure security both during construction and after completing the project”.

Security of the pipeline inside Afghanistan has been questioned as the route would go through a number of turbulent regions, including the Helmand and Kandahar provinces which have become epicentres of violence.

The pipeline would also go through Quetta and end in Fazilka, an Indian city near the India-Pakistan border.

“This gas communication will relieve Pakistan’s economy of its weakness and help battle extremism,” said President Asif Ali Zardari, who arrived in Turkmenistan on Friday.

“We are witnessing a historic project,” said Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Asian Development Bank which will fund the project. “It is not easy to make it happen. Efforts must be made to ensure its security and the ADB is ready to help realise it.”

On Friday, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov expressed hope that the summit would finalise the parameters and dates of the project’s development, Turkmen newspapers said.

Turkmenistan, which is believed to hold the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas, has been working to diversify away from its reliance on Soviet pipelines and has had rows with Moscow over the projected trans-Caspian pipeline to Europe, Nabucco. Ashgabat has also opened export routes to China and increased gas supply to Iran in the recent years.

Published in The Express Tribune December 12th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Zab786
    Dec 11, 2010 - 5:16PM

    Why india is included in this pipeline agreement?. i think Pakistan must eleminate India and work on this pipeline its good for our country.Recommend

  • Umer Hamid
    Dec 11, 2010 - 6:21PM

    I congratulate the Pakistani nation on such a great agreement done between the countries.. this is due to the vision of President Zardari… may Allah bless us with many more ways to progress our country.Recommend

  • sharjeel khan
    Dec 11, 2010 - 6:35PM

    this is bull****,,,, the iran pakistan gas pipeline is best for pakistan,,,usa is opposing it due to its own problems with iranRecommend

  • Sundee
    Dec 11, 2010 - 6:49PM

    Where will Pakistan get money from if India wasn’t included? How many aid or alms US will give it? See if IMF or World bank desn’t sanction loan, Pakistan will never be able to fulfil the greement. See what hppens! Pakistan is lucky tht it got included in it.
    It was India who initiated the project..it was the Pakistan geting benefited. So don’t think like a steriotype Jehadi as the wrold thinks of Pakistan, try to be logical and learn the way Indian thinks!Recommend

  • Ben
    Dec 11, 2010 - 6:54PM

    There was a time when Iran ditched Kashmiris and stabbed Pakistan in the back to save India from possible UN sanctions over HR violation in Kashmir. Then it was India who first ditched Iran in UN voting, then dropped itself from IPI dealing a severe blow to Iran. Now India has joined TAPI to deal yet another blow to Iran. Did Iran deserve this? Read more at: link textRecommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 11, 2010 - 6:58PM

    I agree. If Pakistan’s association with IPI was going to impact on security of the pipeline, how has this pipeline suddenly become secure? If anything, Pakistan has become less secure.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Dec 11, 2010 - 7:14PM

    I think Pakistan Iran pipline was more feasible.in this TAPI gas pipline afghanistan can block our gas any time to fulfil their demands..Recommend

  • Kaleem Ullah khan kakar
    Dec 11, 2010 - 7:37PM

    Its very good news for all of us.It will help a lot curbing existing energy crisis but IPI has pipeline has more importance than TAPI because its cost is very cheap and that has very less security issues than TAPI. Our governanent has left IPI just due to USA. Our leaders should say special heed towards IPI gas pipeline as well.AS TAPI can not full fill our growing energy requirements so IPI should be signed so soon.Recommend

  • realMuslim
    Dec 11, 2010 - 7:56PM

    India is included because there wont be TAPI without India. You think anybody is fool enough to build a Gas pipe line to a country that has a begging bowl?
    Iran’s offer to build gas pipeline just for pakistan is nothing but a gimmick by ahmedijan. Only if Iran had a “normal” leader, IPI would not be impossible.
    Also, from WiKiLeaks its obvious Saudis dont like Iran at all..i highly doubt if the “sovereign” country of pakistan will defy the arab masters!
    TAPI will satisfy both the Arab and the US masters of the “sovereign” country of land of pure!!Recommend

  • Zab786
    Dec 11, 2010 - 8:01PM

    Please do not take favour of your country by saying that ‘this is india who’s idea to initiate TAPI pipeline project and they invite Pakistanto take a part’, i correct you this is an American government plan for Pakistan to take a part with Turkish gas line agreement either to make more part then IR gas project so this is where you wrong and reality is that Indian was keen to take a part of this project and Indian’s must praise for Pakistan that our government gave assurance of security of the piplene of our side.And it is an another good news for all of us Pakistanis that Pakistan is inititate Irans gas pipeline project Irani company is working day night on this gas line they did 15% of the work but this is just starting, the whole project will over InshaALLAH 2012 and in this project India is not a part.Recommend

  • Dec 11, 2010 - 8:39PM

    India, my country, is making a mistake by joining this pipeline. See Pakistan can always block India’s share of oil whenever it wants so there India is just playing into the hands of Pakistan. We will oppose this initiative here in India.

    The way we walked out of IPI pipeline; TAPI also deserves the same fate. No need to get involved in anything Pakistani.Recommend

  • realMuslim
    Dec 11, 2010 - 9:39PM

    blah blah blah
    Punjab does not even pay for gas “stolen” from balochistan. How is pakistan going to pay for gas imported from another country? Can pakistan seriously pay $8-10 billion for gas for its own consumption? We are begging world to give us $4-5 billion for the flood relief, if we cant even do that NOBODY is going to built a multi billion dollar pipeline to pakistan.Recommend

  • Dec 12, 2010 - 2:09AM

    Well done President Zardari- 2nd good news in few days. First investment from China and now signing of this TAPI gas line document.

    @realMuslim- exploiting one’s own brother is easy thats why Punjab and other provinces were able to exploit Balochistan’s resources but when it comes to international projects there are always guarantors like world bank, asain development bank- who can always dictate their terms through US. Pakistan will have to pay any way :) Recommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 12, 2010 - 4:05AM

    According to news reports, all questions pertaining to costs, transit fees, security of supplies etc are yet to be discussed. This is only an expression of intent. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. As long as Pakistan is involved, India will have problems doing business no matter how attractive it may be. You cannot create an infrastructure with the kind of trust Pakistan commands not only in India but Afghanistan also. Recommend

  • Dec 12, 2010 - 4:18AM

    India’s inclusion is a big mistake. India would go for cheaper price than the international rate… Just like it did in IPIRecommend

  • Farrukh Siddiqui
    Dec 12, 2010 - 4:19AM

    Please read this.. this is nothing new and has been tried before

    Energy corridor: myth and reality

    http://archives.dawn.com/2007/02/26/ebr1.htm Recommend

  • Hussain
    Dec 12, 2010 - 10:24AM

    @Zab786 and @ Sapan Kumar,

    When a country participate in an International Contract, there will be remedy incuded in the contract, where to resolve any issues at a later date.

    If country sign a contract and do not follow, it will be isolated from so many fronts as World is not big enough it is a village only. Everyone live together and trade with each other.

    You will have no idea if the product you have bought was prodiced in your own country or any where in the world.

    Bottomline is each participant country signed a contract and they have to abide by.Recommend

  • Kamal
    Dec 12, 2010 - 2:10PM

    @Sapan..do’nt bother about Pakistan blocking the TAPI pipeline.You are forgeting Pakistani is totally dependent on agriculture and pakistani agriculture is totally dependent on rivers coming from India.Pakistani are not fools to give an excuse to India for stoping its water.India can manage without TAPI gas but it will be impossible for Pakistan to manage without water coming from India…Recommend

  • Ehsan Haq
    Dec 12, 2010 - 2:16PM

    Just signing the contract has no meanings at all, if there is no follow-up and practical steps toward the implementation, it is destined to end up as a photo session. We have recent example of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Has anybody heard anything after the much celebrated signing ceremony? I wish that the new one has a better fate. Recommend

  • Dec 12, 2010 - 6:45PM

    @ kamal.
    I second you on this. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 12, 2010 - 11:11PM

    I think Pakistan should involve in TAPI and IPI both deals. Both are very important and crucial for Pakistan. So I hope to see IPI deal also being signed very soonRecommend

  • G.Khan
    Dec 13, 2010 - 2:29AM

    No one can stop water for any population. The parallel drawn Between Water and Pipeline is based on false premesis. Water s the basic necessity of life and given free to human just like air by the nature. More or less it can bebut it’s still free. Gas is a fuel which has a cost associated with it. It ahs alternate or substitute fuels so one kind is replaceable by another. For example Oil can replace gas to produce electricity. Whereas Water has no replacement. Therefore, this argument that India can stop millions of people’s water will be an act of State’s terrorism aganst humanity and will go to ICJ . The whole world will protest for such a measure. It can very well elad to war and war will be equally dirty for both nuclear armed neighbors. Even if we accept the argument that India can stop pakistan’s water( there is no example in the world so far so it will be first) then, by that logic China can do the same for some of the main Indian rivers. It is true the Tibetan plateau is a source of much water. It will give China a trump card to play against India as well. It will not be less desastrous for Indian either.
    Suggestion is, If you do not feel safe with TAPI , then don’t sign it but don’t be a cry baby. Recommend

  • G. Din
    Dec 13, 2010 - 3:36AM

    @Sapan Kapoor and Kamal
    Please stop and think before making an assertion such as stopping rivers from flowing into Pakistan. Firstly, it will run against treaties which have worked very well so far. Secondly, kindly explain how can India do it in practice. You cannot stop mighty rivers from flowing their course or divert waters elsewhere. Thirdly, do you seriously think that the world will just stand by at the catastrophe that would result, even if it were practical to do. These rivers are not little rivulets which can be diverted when and where you please. Even if one were to decide to divert them, have you thought about the logistics involved. Such fanciful notions are like Muslims thinking that they can ask the Arabs to bring the world to its knees just by denying it the oil. What would Arabs do with that oil? They cannot drink it or fill their swimming pools with it. Are Arabs so self-sufficient that they can go bask in the desert after they have turned off the spigot?Today’s world is highly interdependent. Such notions are, to say the least, quite foolish and impractical.

    On the other hand, it is far easy to turn off the spigot on a pipeline and shut off all flow downstream! Think about that! Recommend

  • Danish
    Dec 13, 2010 - 3:37PM

    @ Sapan & Kamal
    India already blocks our water when there is a shortage and opens the spillways in flood seasons….so nothing new…..Recommend

  • Uzma Aftab
    Dec 13, 2010 - 8:32PM

    Pakistan signed an agreement with Afghanistan, India and Turkmenistan on Saturday to finally put the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline on the map. The 1,680 kilometre long gas pipeline is projected to cost over $ 7.6 billion, would bring 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, and end in India. The demand for energy generally, and natural gas in particular is growing in Pakistan. For the past few years now we have had to face gas load shedding every winter due to increased demand. Our gas reserves are fast depleting. Thus there is an urgent need to import gas to meet our demand-supply gap. The TAPI gas pipeline project, which has already been years in gestation, is a welcome step but it would be premature to assume that things will go strictly according to plan. This is another step by the President of Pakistan following the foot steps of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed to bring prosperity in the country. This agreement would indeed the issue of gas shortage, nation suffering since long. I laud this very step by the President to resolve long pending issue of people of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Marwa Mussadiq
    Dec 13, 2010 - 8:37PM

    Well done President Zardari for second good news in few days, First investment from China and now signing of this TAPI gas line document. I congratulate the Pakistani nation on such a great agreement done between the countries. This is due to the vision of President Zardari. PPP government was hardly criticized after Iran-Pakistan- India ( IPI) went into doldrums. Even some entities blamed government for not signing IPI because of US pressure. This was just to betray the nation. The anti- PPP elements perhaps did not mention that the price demanded by Iran was much high, that could be a great burden for our people. Second one the India was also reluctant to sign this deal.
    The TAPI is far better than IPI gas pipeline project. It would not only provide gas to Pakistan on cheaper rates but also this project would cast much less as compared to IPI gas pipeline.

    The critics of governments must hold their derogatory campaigns against president and PPP government. The media that was champion in maligning image of government and president for not signing IPI gas pipeline now must praise this very step by President. How unfortunate that media rides on maligning campaign for any lapse but fails to laud government if achieves some milestone. Media must highlight this agreement as it would help to end the gas shortage. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Dec 14, 2010 - 10:06AM

    G Din and G khan…We do’nt have any intention to stop your water..we never did it .1948,1965,1971 and 1999 are examples of it.But people on other side should also have this in mind that if any agreement is violated then other agreement can be violated as well.and do’nt talk about war..We are not maldives or srilanka..if your country and army would ve been powerful then Kashmir,Siachin and Sircreek would have been part of Pakistan…..Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Dec 14, 2010 - 10:09AM

    G Din..how to stop mighty water..its not that easy but not too difficult as well.we just have to link it to our rivers like ganga and Yamuna etc.And this is what your countrymen is accusing… Recommend

  • G.Khan
    Dec 15, 2010 - 3:42PM

    @ Anonymous

    At least have courage to write your name.

    But let’s stick to the argument. As I wrote earlier that Water: A basic necessity of life, given to us all free by the nature, can not be equated with Fuel Supply. Your argument is basically flawed. Stopping water supply to the masses is crime against humanity. Whereas stopping fuel supply is not a crime against humanity because other options are always available as other sources are available. Agreement of such kind whereas in fuel supply equation, partners keep coming and going. This is quite normal. For example IPI was between Iran pakistan and India. India did not want to participate. then proposal was to divert it to china. So, partners keep changing in fuel supply agreement. It’s normal. But water is irrreplaceable commodity necessary to the survival of the human race. By that logic stopping someone’s water is a crime against humanity and world will react.

    If the agreement is violated, then you can walk out of it and claim your money that’s all. And you will be compensated. But You can not stop water for fuel. If you do that, China will legally be entitled to stop your water as Tibetan Plateau is the sources of your some big rivers and water bodies. You can , then, not argue with China as to why it stopped your water? Can you?

    Because everyone knows what How China treated your army in 1962, a war that you started and lost. It is understandabale that pakistan did not win or gained any territory with India in wars but that is understandable because India is 8 times the size of Pakistani population. That means Indian Army is bigger and more powerful but we tried. However, What excuse do you have of your humiliating defeat against China when the sizes were matched, exactly one to one, for the first time?LOL. Come on! invent me an excuse!!!Recommend

  • ghlam nabi
    Dec 30, 2010 - 3:43PM

    it really remarkable and indispensible for pakistan and hope to cover all lacked things very soon by this deal and this is only about democratic approach of pakistan as on the other hand india is also part of this important and integrel project but pak has not objected it all,Recommend

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