Turkmenistan: Saudi Arabia invests in TAPI gas pipeline

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — Saudi Arabia would make considerable investments in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, Maksat Babayev, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the fuel and energy sector, said at the Cabinet session on January 19, the Chronicles of Turkmenistan reported.

According to Babayev, investments have been made pursuant to the agreements reached in the course of the official visit of President of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May 2016. The funds were allocated by Saudi Development Bank for the TAPI project.

He specified neither the amount of investments nor the conditions under which the deal was concluded.

The President of Turkmenistan sent a letter of thanks to the King of Saudi Arabia for the investments made.

“President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov sent a message to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud expressing gratitude for the investments provided by Saudi Fund for Development and designed for the construction of the gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India,” the state information agency TDH reported last week.

Apart from Saudi Arabia, according to the state information agency, the United Arab Emirates are also interested in TAPI investments. A week ago the meeting between Berdyniyaz Myatiyev, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was held in the United Arab Emirates.

On 20 December 2017 President Berdymukhammedov also met with the Sheikh in Ashgabat. Local media reported that the Arab investors demonstrated interest in the implementation of the TAPI gas pipeline.

In the meantime, the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) last week said the Afghan government had taken the necessary steps to implement Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline in the country, TOLOnews reported.

Construction work on the TAPI pipeline is likely to start in Afghanistan in February, the ministry said.

The areas where the pipeline is expected to run through have also been finalized, said the ministry.

The project will transport gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India via a 1,814km pipeline.

In Afghanistan, the TAPI pipeline will be constructed alongside the Kandahar–Herat Highway in western Afghanistan, and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan. The final destination of the pipeline will be the Indian town of Fazilka, near the border between Pakistan and India.

Afghanistan is expected to get $500 million USD in transit duties annually from the project.

The pipeline will be 1,735 kilometers long and have the capacity of transferring 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Herat, Farah, Helmand and Nimroz provinces of Afghanistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA