Taking another step towards realising the ambitious TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) natural gas pipeline project, petroleum ministers of the four countries met in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Thursday and agreed that steps will be taken to start the project by 2015.
"It was decided that the next meeting of the steering committee will be held in February 2015 in Islamabad," the petroleum ministry said in a statement here on the 19th round of TAPI steering committee meeting attended by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Pradhan had a separate meeting with Pakistan's Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan in Ashgabat, the statement said.
"The two ministers discussed various issues of mutual interest including expediting the TAPI project and possibility of supply of LNG to Pakistan from India," it added.
The TAPI pipeline will export up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India over a period of 30 years. It will enable landlocked Turkmenistan, which has the world's fourth largest proven gas reserves, to expand its gas export market to the southeast.
Last week, state-run gas utility GAIL India, along with state gas companies of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan set up a company that will build, own and operate the 1,800-km gas pipeline across the four countries. The national companies will own equal stake in the TAPI Pipeline Co.
The company has been incorporated as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency in the Irish sea.
The pipeline is expected to carry 90 million metric standard cubic metres of gas daily, of which India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each. Afghanistan's share would be 14 mmscmd but the country has indicated that it may take only 1.5-4 mmscmd, which will result in the balance being shared equally by India and Pakistan.