Tapi pipeline progress reviewed

Updated 19 Sep 2020

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The $10 billion pipeline project has failed to achieve financial close after four years of its expected date.
The $10 billion pipeline project has failed to achieve financial close after four years of its expected date.

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar on Friday met with Turkmen delegation to discuss progress on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) pipeline.

Babar met with the visiting delegation, headed by Tapi Pipeline Company Ltd CEO Muhammetmyrat Amanov, which was also attending by Turkmen Ambassador to Pakistan Atadjan Movlamov, a news release said.

Secretary Petroleum, Managing Director Inter State Gas Systems Ltd, and other senior officials from the ministries of energy, foreign Affairs, law and justice, finance and the office of Attorney General of Pakistan also participated.

The meeting reviewed progress on the project and expressed satisfaction over its pace despite the challenging coronavirus situation. The visiting delegation informed that it intended to start construction activities in Afghanistan by building the gas pipeline from Turkmen-Afghan border to Herat offtake point.

Commencement of construction work in Afghanistan would immensely boost the confidence of international investors to invest in the project.

Pakistan said it is keenly interested in rebuilding international standard gas infrastructure in Afghanistan and extending full support at every level to commence such development activities there.

The two sides also discussed Pakistan’s concerns pertaining to commercial and legal aspects of the project which the delegation assured would be adequately addressed in the relevant agreements, and negotiations would start as soon as the Covid-19 is contained globally.

Further, Pakistan expressed its readiness to finalise the matter in order to proceed to actual construction work in the country in parallel with Afghanistan.

The respective sides also agreed to finalise the Host Government Agreement by the end of this year.

The Turkmen delegation informed that its negotiations with international lending agencies and Export Credit Agencies were going well while Pakistan informed that it would like to perform the pipeline’s groundbreaking at the earliest after finalisation of the pending issues.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi also had a call with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Friday on bilateral relations, as well as the implementation of Tapi project.

The president underscored the need for early operationalisation of Tapi pipeline that would go a long way in further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2020