ASHGABAT - Rapid design work is underway on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the implementation of which will increase Turkmenistan’s position in the gas market of the Asian region, the Institute of Strategic Planning and Economic Development of Turkmenistan said.

“The industrial move of putting into operation the super-giant gas field of Galkynysh in Mary province in September 2013 became a significant event in its development,” the institute said.

The field’s resource reserves are estimated at 26.2 trillion cubic meters of gas putting it in the second place in the world, according to the institute. Within the first stage of the industrial development of the Galkynysh field, a complex of facilities has been constructed enabling the production of 30 billion cubic meters of commercial gas per year. The second stage of the development started in autumn.

China which commissioned a gas pipeline with its equity and is ready to construct additional branches in order to increase the volume of purchases to 65 billion cubic meters of gas per year, became the key purchaser for Turkmenistan since 2009. South Asia can be another important market for Turkmenistan. The designed capacity of TAPI, where the gas companies of Pakistan and India have been presented as purchasers, can amount to 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh also seeks to buy Turkmen fuel.

The TAPI pipe length can reach 1735 kilometres. It is expected that the main line must stretch from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan, Galkynysh, through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar and reach its final destination at the settlement of Fazilka, located on the border between India and Pakistan.

The basic document is an Ashgabat interstate agreement of the member states signed in 2010 in Ashgabat on starting the practical implementation of the TAPI project. The instability for transit through Afghanistan remains a serious obstacle. However, Kabul says it will be able to ensure the route’s safety. TAPI is at an important stage of its development. In May 2012, the Turkmen government signed an agreement for the sale and purchase of natural gas with India’s GAIL Ltd. and State Gas Systems of Pakistan. A corresponding agreement was signed with Afghanistan in July, 2013. A Service Agreement was signed with the transactional adviser - the Asian Development Bank (ADB) - in Ashgabat in November 2013.

At this stage work on formation of a TAPI consortium which will provide financing and construction of the power line is underway.

Earlier, Turkmen press said that the heads of the companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, BG Group, RWE, Petronas read the project’s terms and “expressed their intention to participate in it”. According to Indian sources, Shell company also showed interest. South Korean Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) has declared its proposals for TAPI.

Russia showed a high-level interest in this project, the U.S. also supports its implementation and speaks against the similar project from Iran to Pakistan.