A map showing the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.—File Photo

NEW DELHI: Turkmenistan, holder of the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, expects to start constructing a pipeline to export gas to South Asian nations in 2017, a senior government official said on Sunday.

“Turkmenistan can construct its pipeline in its own territory in three years, but for other countries, it depends on their participation,” Kakageldy Abdullaev, Acting Minister of the Oil and Gas Industry, told reporters on the sidelines of the Petrotech energy conference.

Ex-Soviet Turkmenistan agreed in May to supply natural gas to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan by signing gas sales and purchase agreements with Pakistan’s Inter State Gas Systems and Indian state-run utility GAIL.

It recently held roadshows for investors willing to take part in the US-backed, 1,735-km TAPI pipeline.

“The companies that we have met, they have no objection to financing,” Abdullaev said, but declined to say how many investors had made commitments.

He said on Monday that Bangladesh had asked to join the TAPI project.

“There was a request from Bangladesh to join the project. We require an official note which will be considered by all the four governments of the project,” Abdullaev said.

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