Review of main developments in Turkmenistan's transport sector in 2021

Transport Materials 29 December 2021 10:01 (UTC +04:00)
Review of main developments in Turkmenistan's transport sector in 2021

BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 29

By Amina Nazarli - Trend:

Trend News Agency presents 2021 review of international transport projects implemented by Turkmenistan.

Caspian Connector project

The project is conducted by Trans Caspian Resources, a new US-based company founded in April 2021, which is striving to transport Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan and from there to the South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia). A small amount may also be considered to deliver to Turkey.

The 78-km-long connector is expected to supply 12 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas per year. The $500-800 million project will require a very short new pipeline and will utilize the capabilities of existing infrastructure.

Current status:

Co-manager of the project Allan Mustard earlier told Trend that TRC is not a part of the EU’s energy projects and expects to address the need for natural gas in the Caucasus.

The project's implementation is still on hold until TCR gets appropriate responses and agreements from stakeholders.


Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline

TAPI is a critical transnational project that aims to transport 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The pipeline will connect the massive Galkynysh gas field in southern Turkmenistan to Fazilka in western India. The project is planned to pass through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, Pakistani Quetta, and Multan before reaching Fazilka in western India.

The length of the gas pipeline will be 1,814 km, with a throughput capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year (across Turkmenistan - 214 km, across Afghanistan - 774 km, across Pakistan - 826 km).

The $10 billion project was approved by a number of countries including Russia, the US, as well as institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, which served as the acting transactional advisor for the project.

TAPI construction began in 2015, while the inauguration ceremony devoted to marking taking the pipeline from Turkmenistan further to Afghanistan took place in 2018. The representatives of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a Memorandum on the selection of land plots for the TAPI highway in September 2020.

Current Status:

The pipeline's construction is proceeding at a quick pace. Throughout the year, the parties have expressed a desire to accelerate the pipeline's development. Among Turkmenistan's current energy initiatives, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov underlined the strategic importance of the TAPI gas pipeline development.

The entire infrastructure for receiving the gas pipeline has already been built at the endpoint of TAPI - India. Pakistan's contribution to the implementation of TAPI will be $200 million.

Earlier in April, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a Concept of Ensuring the Security of the Afghan section of the TAPI. It was a critical stage in ensuring the timely completion of the TAPI gas pipeline project, which included the establishment of a Safety Plan and Protocol.

However, as Taliban took the power in Afghanistan in mid-August, one of the main questions was the future of the TAPI project. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaki, said that construction work on the Afghan section of the project will resume, making this statement following a meeting with his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredev in Kabul in late October.

Lapis Lazuli Route

Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transport corridors

Lapis Lazuli, estimated at $2 billion, is an international transit route opened in 2018 linking Afghanistan to Turkey via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The Corridor which includes road, rail and sea transport should connect the Afghan cities of Faryab and Herat with Ashgabat and reach the Turkmenbashi port in Turkmenistan. From here, it will be extended to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and go to the ports of Poti and Batumi in Tbilisi. Finally, the corridor reaches Turkey passing from Ankara to Istanbul and from there to Europe.

The agreement among the parties was signed on November 15, 2017, at the ministerial meeting of the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan held in Ashgabat.

Current status:

On January 16, 2021, leaders of an inter-departmental working group from Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan agreed on a tripartite roadmap for deeper cooperation on the Corridor.

Turkmenistan made a considerable contribution to the corridor's development and the integration of Afghanistan into Eurasia's transport and logistics infrastructure.

The Akina-Andkhoy railway, a 30-kilometer section of the Kerki-Imamnazar-Akina-Andkhoy steel highway connecting Afghanistan to Turkmenistan's transportation infrastructure, was inaugurated in January 2021. The railway is considered one of the important connections in the Lapis Lazuli route.

This November Turkmen authorities agreed to participate in the Lapis Lazuli project, which aims to facilitate transit logistics and simplify customs procedures.


Power transmission lines on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) route

The 153-km-long high-voltage power transmission line along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route is aimed to build infrastructure for the export and import of electric power between the three countries.

The project is being implemented on the basis of an agreement signed by the Turkmen Energy Ministry with a subsidiary Calik Holding A.S. (Turkey) - TAPP-500 Power Transmission Line FZE company.

Power lines will be built from the Mary power plant to the Afghan city of Herat. The Mary State Power Plant is critical to Turkmenistan's power industry. In 2016, the Plant's industrial zone saw the construction of a 146.7 megawatt gas turbine station.

A combined cycle electric generating plant was built in 2018. Its power is equal to 1,574 megawatts. The combined cycle electric generating plant made 70 percent of the total electricity for 2019, which was 8.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Current status

The 220-kilovolt transmission line is one of the stages of the construction of the project. Some 876 high-voltage poles that needed to be installed on the power line, were finished in May, according to the Turkish company Çalik Enerji, who is the general contractor and investor of the construction of the 260-kilometer section of the power line.

The launch of the transmission lines was scheduled for August 2021. The project, however, was halted once the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. According to authorities of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the main reason for this is the suspension of funds from ADB, the World Bank, and US development aid to Afghanistan, Tolo news reports.

"90 percent of the 500 KV line project is completed and only 10 percent of this work remains. If the ABD allows, we can complete the remaining 10 percent of its work in the next six months," said Safiullah Ahmadzai, Executive Chief of DABS.

He went on to say that a complete solution to Kabul's electricity shortfall will necessitate the construction of two more electricity substations at a cost of $40 million.