ISLAMABAD—Construction activities on proposed Turkmanistan Afghanistan Pakistan and India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline will kick start by end of January 2020 on Pakistan section.
Sources said that the proposed date for inauguration of TAPI Gas Pipeline for Pakistan section sheduled in September (current month) was delayed due to on-going tensions between Pakistan and India. India scrapped a law that grants special status to Indian-administered Kashmir amid an indefinite lockdown and massive troop deployment in the disputed region.
Amidst theses tensions, the proposed date for inauguration was postponed for indefinite period. As Pakistan is anticipating the India side would not participate in the inaugural of gas pipeline of Pakistan’s section.
However, the officials in Petroleum Division said that the project would kick start by end of January 2020. Meanwhile, new date of the inaugural ceremony would also be fixed with the approval of higher authorities at appropriate time.
Pakistan would provide facilitation for the project as all the cost of the project would be bear by the TAPI Pipeline Company and European banks and companies showed their keen interest in financing the gas project.
“The gas available through TAPI Gas Pipeline will be 15 percent cheaper than imported LNG and around 22 percent cheaper than RLNG which can also reduce the production cost of electricity”, the officials said.
All the tendering process of construction of Pakistan section of TAPI Gas pipeline would be given by TAPI Pipeline Company which has 85 percent share of Turkemistan and 5 percent each of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. However, all the five percent share holders have veto power.
Pakistan has requested the TAPI Company to utilize local resources up to 30 percent from Pakistan.
Pak Army also agreed to provide security to mega pipeline project like it is providing to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “The Army will charge 1 to 2 percent of transaction fee received by Pakistan”, sources said.
The TAPI pipeline project, designed to diversify Turkmenistan’s gas exports, could deliver its first gas to Pakistan in 24 months, the company’s CEO said on Tuesday.
The pipeline is expected to link the energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
Muhammetmyrat Amanov, chief executive of TAPI Pipeline company, told an industry conference in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the primary cost of the pipeline was $5 billion.
Three-fourths of the gas imported under the TAPI Gas Pipeline Project will be allocated to Punjab in a bid to help it overcome severe energy shortages according to a decision of Economic Coordination Committee, the highest forum of Pakistan in Pakistan Muslim League-N Government in 2015.
The Economic Coordination Committee approved allocation of 75 per cent of gas from the Tapi pipeline to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), which serves Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The remaining quarter of Tapi gas will be allocated to the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).
The proposal mainly aims to overcome the shortfall in the country’s northern gas system; the shortage affects only Punjab, where the utility company is forced to carry out a gas rationing plan. But it would still enable both SNGPL and SSGC to reduce the demand and supply gap on their systems.
About 816 kilometers of the pipeline is designed to pass through Herat, Farah, Helmand, Nimroz, and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan, from where it will enter Pakistan and pass through the major cities of Quetta and Multan, ending at the Indian Punjab border town of Fazlika. The 1814 kilometer long pipeline will have the capacity to transfer 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.