Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TAPI pipeline: India for clarity on security issues, transit fee

Richa Mishra
New Delhi, Oct. 3

India would like contentious issues such as security, gas price, and transit fee on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline network to be resolved before December. "We would like these issues to be resolved before December when a proposed meeting of the Heads of the States of the partner countries is expected," a senior official told Business Line.

Pakistan's assurance

On the security concerns raised by India for the 800 km stretch of the over 1,680-km pipeline network that will fall in Pakistan, the Pakistani side has agreed to give a presentation and allay the apprehensions.The network in Pakistan will pass through Quetta, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, and Pakpattan. It will enter India from Fazilka in Punjab. "Pakistan has agreed to give a presentation before the official-level technical working group on how it will handle the security of the network," Mr Jitin Prasada, Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas, told Business Line.

Afghanistan was the first to offer to give a presentation at the next technical group meeting on how it will handle the security of the network for the 735-km stretch, which falls in its region. A stretch of the network will pass through Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Transit fee

"The project will get us about 38 mscmd of gas. Looking at the significance of this project to make it successful it is important that all stakeholders should recognise certain facts. The transit fee for the gas through various countries be kept at minimum, the security issues be properly addressed, and there should be complete clarity on the institutional mechanisms for this," he said.

"Before taking this project further, the pricing and other Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) issues need to be resolved to the full satisfaction of all partner countries," he added.

Tech group meetings

"There are two more technical group meetings to be held that would be followed by steering group meetings," he added. Mr Prasada was recently in Turkmenistan to sign the initialisation of the Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA) and the Heads of Agreements for the proposed GSPA.

The TAPI project envisages constructing a 1,680 km of pipeline with a total gas capacity of 90 mscmd. The length of pipeline in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Indian border is 145 km, 735 km and 800 km, respectively.

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