TAPI project’s implementation depends on U.S.-Taliban negotiations

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 1 / Trend A. Taghiyeva, V. Zhavoronkova/

The implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project depends on the negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban, Turkish expert on Eurasia and International relations Hasan Selim Ozertem said.

"The TAPI implementation is directly connected with the political situation in the region," Ozertem, the researcher of Turkish USAK centre, told Trend over the phone.

TAPI needs security in the countries it will pass through and the negotiations between Taliban and the U.S. may be effective in this regard, he added.

"If the negotiations are not successful, the TAPI implementation will be impossible," Ozertem added.

He said that this project may easily become a target for regional terrorists. From the other hand, Ozertem said that the project if implemented will contribute to the economic development of the whole region.

Turkey has recently expressed its wish to play its part in this pipeline project.

"Turkey and Turkmenistan intend to expand cooperation in the energy sector," Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said. "In particular, Turkey intends to participate in the TAPI project."

As for Turkey's participation in TAPI, Ozertem said that the country is likely to participate in the constructional part of the project. Turkey may use its private sector in this pipeline's construction, expert said.

The Afghan, Turkmen and Pakistani presidents and Indian Oil and Gas Minister signed the intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline on December 11, 2010, which will pass through all four countries.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov promised that as a supplier of natural gas, Turkmenistan will ensure the increasing long-term needs of Indian and Pakistani economies.

The agreements on the TAPI project will last more than 15 years. The cost is estimated at $4-7 billion. Its length will hit nearly 1,700 kilometres. About 830 kilometres of the pipeline must pass through Afghanistan and 400 kilometres through Pakistan.

It is planned to deliver gas from the Dovletabad field (Turkmenistan) which has reserves estimated at 1.7-4.5 trillion cubic metres. The pipeline capacity will reach up to 30 billion cubic metres.

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