TAPI Project Ground-Breaking Ceremony Will Be Held on Dec 13

Ashgabat: President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov announced the beginning to construction on TAPI gas line project on last Friday during the weekly Cabinet meeting. The work on the Turkmen section will be done by state-run gas company Turkmengaz, which was named project consortium leader for TAPI Pipeline Company Limited in August, and energy infrastructure construction division Turkmenneftegazstroi.

After announcing the project Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Monday discussed the new pipeline in a phone call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who hailed it as “extremely important for the entire region.” Ghani has accepted Berdymukhamedov’s invitation to attend a ground-breaking ceremony marking the start of its construction on Dec. 13.

Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have agreed to jointly launch the construction of a multi-billion dollar pipeline that will pump natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, Turkmen state media reported Tuesday.

TAPI, as the proposed 1,140-mile pipeline is known, is intended to carry 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar and end up in the India-Pakistan border town of Fazilka. The viability of the long-discussed project has been in doubt because of arguments over price-fixing and the poor security situation in the areas to be crossed by the pipeline.

The pipeline is designed to transport 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually for a period of three decades. Work is formally due to start in December, according to the government decree signed by Berdymukhamedov, but substantial construction is not expected to get underway until next year. The completion date has been set for December 2018.

Turkmenistan is believed to have the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, who currently exports gas to China, Russia and Iran. But relations between Turkmenistan and Russia, which this year reduced the volume of its gas purchases to 4 billion cubic meters, took a turn for the worse after Ashgabat in July accused Russia’s Gazprom of failing to pay for fuel supplied this year.

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