Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) does not exclude the possibility of funding the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline construction, Chin Choon Fong, senior advisor at the Central and West Asia Department of the bank, overseeing the project, told Trend.
"ADB is open in principal to financing the TAPI project," Chin Choon Fong said.
However he noted that it is too early to discuss what, if any, parts of the project the bank may be involved in.
ADB has served as the TAPI transaction advisor since 2013 and has already provided more than $4 million in technical assistance grants to date for the project's pre-feasibility studies, risk analysis and mitigation, legal advice, market analyses, and security studies, among others.
TAPI will make it possible to deliver gas from Turkmenistan, which ranks fourth in the world for its gas reserves, to large and promising markets of South and Southeast Asia. The pipeline will run from Galkynysh - the largest gas field in Turkmenistan - through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border.
Turkmenistan is interested in gas supplies to the South Asia for years. In early 90th American Unocal company was selected as an operator of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. However, the project was stopped due to war and the US military operation against the Taliban in transit Afghanistan.
The idea of gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Southern Asia was revived as TAPI project in 2010. Meanwhile, experts still think that the instability in Afghanistan remains a serious obstacle to this project.
Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 billion cubic meters. Total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 kilometers. Some 214 kilometers will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 kilometers - in Afghanistan, and 826 kilometers – in Pakistan.
Turkmenistan started construction of its section of TAPI in December 2015 and it is expected it will take three years. In early May Turkmenistan said that construction works are in line with schedule. Time frame of the Afghan and Pakistani sections construction of the TAPI pipeline has not been determined yet. However the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited consortium developing the project has signed a contract with German ILF Beratende Ingenieure GmbH for the provision of services for the preliminary design and management of the project in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The technical work in the territory of these states has already started.
The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion. The Turkmen government said earlier that the state concern Turkmengas would be the main investor for the TAPI project.
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