The much-touted and already delayed trans-nations $10bn Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas line project landed in hot waters after Asian Development Bank (ADB) paused all due diligence and processing activities until the Taliban regime is legitimised by the United Nations and big economies of the world.
“The major portion of the pipeline is to pass through Afghanistan. The ADB that was earlier acting as the facilitator and coordinator of the project has paused the project putting the fate of the gas line in the doldrums,” a top official of Energy Ministry said while quoting the proceedings of the recently held meeting in Islamabad between top Turkmen and Pakistani functionaries.
The TAPI gas pipeline has a length of 1,680km with a design capacity of 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum (bcfd). It was to be laid down from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan up to the Pak-India border.
The TAPI pipeline is proposed to be laid down from Herat-Kandahar-Chaman-Zhob-DG Khan-Multan and reach Fazilika — a city at the Indian border. However, in the wake of ADB’s lack of interest, the project is touted for more delays.
Under the trans-nations pipeline, Pakistan and India will be provided 1.325 bcfd (billion cubic feet per day) gas each and Afghanistan will get 0.5 bcfd gas share under this project.
The Turkmenistan Gas Company has also failed to secure financial closure after many years.
Earlier, it was to achieve the financial closure in 2016 which was forwarded to 2021 with the likelihood that the project would be functional from 2023. Now under the latest scenario, ADB has ceased all its activities.
A meeting of the Turkmenistan official delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev with Pakistani officials headed by Energy Minister Hammad Azhar took place on January 31, 2022.
The Turkmen side disclosed that ADB has declined its interest in the project on accord with the global non-recognition of the Taliban regime.
However, both sides resolved to work on the project. An ADB has spokesman confirmed the development saying that ADB’s assistance has been placed on hold.
The ADB, he said “has paused all its TAPI project due diligence and processing activities until further notice.”
As the international community continues to assess the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the ADB would hold its assistance in Afghanistan effective from 15 August 2021. The ADB continues to consult with our shareholders and other stakeholders to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.