ISLAMABAD

Work on the Pakistan segment of Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project will start in 2017 and the project will be completed by December 2019, said Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi here Tuesday.

The TAPI pipeline will bring 3.2 billion Cubic Feet Gas per Day (BCFD) of gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and with the current prices of Brent oil, Pakistan will get a rate of $5.7-6.2 per MMBTU, Khaqan Abbasi said while addressing a press conference.

Replying to a query, the minister said that under the TAPI agreement gas will be supplied for 25 years and there is no chance that the gas will finish before that time as Gylkynish and adjacent gas fields have the reserves of about 21TCF which according a study are enough for next 100 years, the minister added.

He said that start of work on the project was a significant achievement as the project was lingering since 1990, adding that within past two and half years partner countries worked hard to start the project. All the member states were eager to initiate the project and faced serious challenges but finally Turkmenistan government took the decision to become lead financer and now construction on TAPI has started.

Replying to questions, minister said gas price at Turkmen border will be around 80% of the Brent oil and if added the tolling fee of the pipeline at current oil prices it will cost in the range of $5.7-6.2 per MMBTU.

He said TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) is responsible for laying a 56-inch diameter 1680 km-long pipeline from supply source at Gylkynish and adjacent gas fields, sneaking through Heart-Kandahar-Chamman-Zhob-DG Khan-Multan and Fazilika-Pakistan- India border.

He said Pakistan had been selected as chairman of the company’s board with having five percent shareholding like India and Afghanistan.

Out of total gas volume, Afghanistan would get 500 mmcfd and Pakistan, India each will get 1.32 bcfd. However, the minister added either Pakistan or India could purchase more gas if Afghanistan wanted to provide the natural gas out of its total share.

The minister said due to its volume the TAPI gas will be cheaper than Iranian gas, adding that Bangladesh had also expressed willingness to be part of the project, but it will be a swap arrangement between India and Bangladesh as the pipeline could not be extended to Bangladesh.

Answering a question about the security of the pipeline, the minister said that the security of the project will be the responsibility of the each country. Pakistan will get $250 million from India as transit fee and Afghanistan will also get the same amount from Pakistan and India, he said. Actually Pakistan will not pay any transit fee from its own kitty as the country will pay the same amount to Afghanistan which it will be receiving from India as a transit fee. The agreement is between the states and the changing of any government in any partner country will have no impact over the project.

“The government of Turkmenistan will invest an estimated amount of $25 billion in developing gas fields and laying of 1.680 kilometer gas pipeline. Each of the other partner country will have 5 percent shares in the construction of the pipeline”, the minister maintained.

Pakistan will provide a share of $200 million for its five percent holding which will be paid from the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

These countries would have to bear security cost out of royalty or transit fee as each country would have to pay transit fee to other country of the project he added.

The minister said that at present the tripartite transit agreement negotiations between Afghanistan-Pakistan-India are underway.

He said that to provide gas to the domestic consumers in rural areas the government is trying to make the prices of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) affordable. The government was considering of regulating the prices of LPG so that it can be made affordable to household consumers as supplying of pipeline gas to every household is not possible.