Head of Trend Persian desk Dalga Khatinoglu
In recent years, due to yearly increasing demand for natural gas in India the country's activity in search of import sources of this type of fuel has markedly intensified.
According to experts forecast, gas consumption in India will increase twice in the coming years.
At present, 45.58 billion cubic meters from India's total gas consumption in the amount of 57.32 billion cubic meters, is provided by domestic sources. The remaining amount of gas is ensured by imports of liquefied gas, including by purchasing five billion cubic meters of LNG from Qatar - the largest producer of liquefied gas.
However, despite the substitution of the deficient amounts of gas at the expense of LNG, Delhi considers several options for laying pipelines.
These projects include: put forward even in the 1990s TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India), gas pipeline "Peace" (Iran-Pakistan-India), MBI (Myanmar-Bangladesh-India), as well as an underwater gas pipeline from Qatar or Oman.
July 27, Indian Deputy Foreign Minister Jayant Prasad held talks on joint energy projects and transit opportunities in Ashgabat.
In May 2010 during Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov's visit to India, as well as at the international conference on Afghanistan held recently under the auspices of the U.N. in Kabul, both countries' officials discussed construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project.
TAPI will measure 1,680 kilometers in length, with a design capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Preliminary agreements on gas pipeline were achieved in 2002.
TAPI project, for implementation of which the Asian Development Bank is ready to allocate funds and which is supported by U.S., is of strategic importance for Turkmenistan, as well as for India.
Turkmenistan has repeatedly stated about a desire to maximally diversify its gas supplies. At present, Turkmenistan has agreements to supply gas to China (30 billion cubic meters per year), Iran (14 billion cubic meters per year) and Russia (50 billion cubic meters per year). Cooperation with India will increase Turkmenistan's role in the gas markets.
In turn, India is interested in expanding economic cooperation with the Central Asian countries, thereby gaining another source of energy supplies.
On the other hand, Afghanistan, who will receive five billion cubic meters of gas for domestic needs at the expense of the TAPI gas pipeline, will be able to benefit worth $ 300 million from transit of gas, which will create some opportunities for work and income sources among 11 million unemployed in this country.
Discussion of alternatives to TAPI project is frozen by India. MBI pipeline is no longer discussed, and discussions on the pipeline "Peace" are frozen as a result of the U.S. and Europe's sanctions against Iran.
At present, the amin energy needs of India are met at the expense of coal. Also it's planned to create nuclear and combined-cycle power plants.
Currently, India's proven reserves hit 1.2 trillion cubic meters.
According to BP, during 2009, Turkmenistan's gas reserves hit 7.94 trillion cubic meters. This amount of reserves is very attractive for India. However, the instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the lack of agreement on the price of Turkmen gas, as well as a large number of gas agreements concluded before with Ashgabat make the TAPI's fate unpredictable.