Kicking off work on the long discussed US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline, India and its new energy partners signed agreements that will pave way for laying of the 1,680 km line. Turkmenistan which holds more than 4 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves signed agreements to sell gas to India and Pakistan through the $7.6 billion pipeline at the Caspian Sea resort of Avaza.
The 1,680 km Tapi pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million cubic metres a day (mmcmd) gas for a 30 year period and will be operational in 2018. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmcmd each, while the remaining 14 mcmd will be supplied to Afghanistan. Besides Reddy, the GSPA, signed by national oil companies of the four nations, was witnessed by Turkmenistan oil minister B Nedirov, Pakistan’s petroleum minister Asim Hussain and Afghanistan’s minister of mines Wahidullah Shahrani.
The US is backing the Tapi pipeline as an alternative to the Iran-Pakistan-India line in its efforts to choke Tehran financially over its suspected nuclear weapon programme. While New Delhi had reached pacts on price and transit clauses for the IPI pipeline, Tapi will be the first transnational line for which it will be signing a GSPA.