Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, March 7 / Trend H. Hasanov /
Delhi has proposed making changes to the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Accordingly, its length will increase and construction will start from Kazakhstan, Indian media reported today.
According to The Hindu, the gas pipeline will head from the former Silk Road caravanserai city of Shymkent, known today for oil refining and enter Uzbekistan.
India unveiled the concept of the pipeline which in future could be extended to Russia, during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Kazakh counterpart Erlan Idrissov. The two Ministers will revisit the idea in the coming months.
The basic document for the promotion of the TAPI project is the Ashgabat interstate agreement of the state parties on the commencement of the practical implementation of the TAPI project signed in late 2010.
The Turkmen government has recently reported that Ashgabat is preparing to hold a regular meeting of the TAPI technical working group soon. The agenda includes the organisational, legal and technical issues for the formation of a specialised company.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has emphasised the particular importance of the TAPI project.
He said construction of this transnational gas pipeline in addition to purely economic benefits, will allow participating countries to solve a number of pressing social and humanitarian problems including those related to the creation of new jobs, formation of necessary transport, communications and social infrastructure.
Experts stressed that the situation in Afghanistan is a major obstacle for the TAPI implementation.
The agreements on the purchase and sale of Turkmen gas were signed with India's GAIL ltd and State Gas Systems of Pakistan.
Negotiations on formation of consortium and financial package are being held.
According to the Turkmen variant, the design capacity of the TAPI may reach up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It is expected that the pipeline will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan 'Galkhynysh' through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandagar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border.