India hopes for Russian participation in gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Oct. 8 / Trend, H. Hasanov /

Russia has expressed its interest in an ambitious project on constructing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Russian media quoted Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid as saying.

Khurshid recently participated in a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on cooperation in Moscow.

"We are also hoping, and Russia has indicated its interest in participating in that very ambitious pipeline project called the TAPI project, starting from Turkmenistan and going all the way via Afghanistan and Pakistan to India," Khurshid said in an interview with Voice of Russia radio station.

"And in many ways Russia can be a major contributor, whether it is in the building of the pipeline or it is in upstream supplement of the gas that will come from Turkmenistan to India, or indeed in any other way," he said.

"In the end, the gas pipeline can be extended to Russia," he stressed. "Delhi has high hopes for this project."

"We know that some security issues need to be addressed in Afghanistan and of course we need to have Pakistan on board," he said. "But we see no reason why this will not be possible."

According to him, this project is a priority for India.

"Despite the laying of the gas pipeline will not be cheap, we can quickly recover the costs," he said.

"And perhaps with the pipeline going through Afghanistan and Pakistan there will be much greater economic interdependence between our countries and that perhaps is the best guarantee," Khurshid said. "Any other pipeline that comes from Oman or an undersea pipeline, or a deep sea pipeline that comes from Iran to India - those are completely different projects far more expensive and difficult to put together."

The basic document for the promotion of 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.

In May 2012, the Turkmen government entered into an agreement for the sale of natural gas with India's GAIL Ltd. A memorandum of understanding was signed with Afghanistan in July 2013.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline construction project becomes more important and acquires real features of practical implementation, Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov said.

"TAPI will be an effective stabilizing factor having a positive impact on the entire situation. It will give additional stability to the entire system of political and economic relations on the Asian continent," he said.

At present, the necessary legal framework was created for resolving issues related to the formation of the consortium. It will ensure financing and construction of energy highway.
The design capacity of TAPI is 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The estimated length is 1,735 kilometres. It is expected that the pipeline will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan, Galkhynysh, through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border.

Turkmenistan ranks fourth in natural gas reserves in the world. The country is exporting this fuel to the markets of China, the CIS countries and Iran. Besides South Asia's markets, the variants of laying the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe are being examined.

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