TAPI construction makes no sense as long as Afghanistan politically unstable

TAPI construction makes no sense as long as Afghanistan politically unstable

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 27 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova/

The construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline does not make any sense as long as the member-countries are not able to provide the project's security, German expert on Central Asia Michael Laubsch believes.

"It would make no sense of building such a pipeline when the political and social system in Afghanistan will not develop and one can guarantee several kinds of security in the country," the head of the German non-governmental organization ETG (Eurasian Transition Group) Laubsch told Trend during a telephone conversation from Berlin.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov urged the heads of the country's oil and gas sector to accelerate implementation of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project last week.

Ashgabat recently stated that an agreement in principle was reached with Pakistan on the cost of Turkmen gas and an agreement will be signed soon.

The price of transit through the Afghan territory remains unresolved. At this stage, a principle of forming an international consortium is under discussion, and the project financing issue is being resolved.

The expert said without any security in Afghanistan especially for India it does not make sense to have such a pipeline, because then it obviously could be controlled by several warlords in Afghanistan, which could also jeopardize interests of other countries, like India

"I think after withdrawal of the NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 we have to see how the security situation will develop in the country and I am quite doubtful that the political stability will increase," Laubsch added.

He added that one can not predict whether another civil war could start in the country or how the situation will develop.

The construction of the project might be possible, but the sides still need to find out if financial investment in such a program would be paid by the member countries, expert said.

"The implementation of TAPI is still in the clouds in spite of this idea might sound quite interesting, so we have to wait until further project plans will be realized," Laubsch added.

The basic document for the project's promotion will be Ashgabat interstate agreement of the member states on start of initial implementation of TAPI project signed in late 2010.
The gas pipeline's designed capacity is 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The buyers are gas companies of Pakistan and India.
The project is promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Besides Dovletabad deposit, the largest 'Southern Yeloten - Osman' (Galkynysh) deposit developed in Turkmenistan may also become the raw materials base. The length of the pipeline may be 1,735 kilometers.

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