Pakistan says TAPI gas pipeline ‘much-needed project,’ must be launched without delay

Source: Arab News

ISLAMABAD: The Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) gas pipeline is a “much-needed” project that needs to be launched without delay, Pakistan’s top economic forum said on Thursday after a high-level consultative meeting.
The pipeline will link the energy-rich Central Asian country of Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, and is expected to carry 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas each year along a route stretching 1,800 km (1,125 miles) from Galkynysh, the world’s second-biggest gas field, to the Indian city of Fazilka near the Pakistan border.
However, work on the project has been stalled due to differences over price review and delivery points.
Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to discuss the TAPI pipeline, and other economic matters with the consultative forum.
“The forum observed that it [TAPI] was a much-needed project and should be launched without delay,” a statement from the Ministry of Finance said.
The forum also discussed the inflationary situation in the country, directing the National Price Monitoring Committee to continue “regular coordination” with provincial governments to ensure price stability and to keep hoarding and profiteering in check, the ministry said.
As per the original TAPI deal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India would have 15 percent share of gas, while Turkmenistan would get 85 percent. Under the existing gas sale-purchase agreement, the gas delivery point is the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border, which Pakistan wants moved to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Pakistan, hit by a shortage of imported gas, this year cut power output in a move that hurt the economy just as it reeled from soaring inflation and a sliding currency.