India has jointly set up a company with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan that will commission the ambitious TAPI pipeline project for the transfer of natural gas from resource-rich Turkmenistan to the other three nations.
The company has been floated with equal stakes held by the state-owned gas companies — Turkmengas, Afghan Gas Enterprise, Inter-State Gas Systems and GAIL (India) Ltd — of the four nations.
The 1,800-kilometre TAPI pipeline will export up to 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas a year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, over 30 years.
Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest proven gas reserves, and the pipeline will allow the land-locked country to diversify its gas export markets to the southeast.
Turkmengas, in turn, will provide a key new source of fuel for southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India.
The transaction advisor for the project, Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), termed the establishment of the company as a key milestone in its development.
“It is a tangible sign of transformational cooperation among the parties that presages enhanced energy security, business prospects and overall peace and stability in the region, promised by the pipeline,” Klaus Gerhaeusser, director-general of ADB’s Central and West Asia department, said.
ADB had said the formation of the company was an integral part of the larger goal of identifying and selecting a commercial consortium leader to spearhead the construction and operation of the pipeline.
When selected, the commercial consortium leader will take a substantial stake in the company.
ADB says it is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.
Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members including 48 from the region. ADB’s assistance stood at $21 billion in 2013, including co-financing of $6.6 billion.