Ground breaking ceremony of the USD 7.6 billion TAPI gas pipeline, covering four nations including India, will be held on Sunday in Turkmenistan, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
Turkmenistan's state company Turkmengaz will lead the consortium for building the 1800-kilometre-long pipeline carrying gas from the former the Soviet state to energy-hungry India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Turkmen government is holding a ground breaking ceremony on December 13, 2015 for commencing laying of the pipeline with Turkmenistan," he said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha here.
Turkmengas will be the consortium leader after foreign firms refused to participate in the project. French giant Total SA had initially envisaged interest in leading a consortium of national oil companies of the four nations in the TAPI project. The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period and is targeted to be operational in 2018. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.
India's state gas utility "GAIL has signed a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Turkmengas for import of 38 mmscmd of natural gas for 30 years. However, with Afghanistan agreeing to take approx 1.5-4 mmscmd against the original agreed volume of 14 mmscmd, the Indian volumes may increase to 43-44.25 mmscmd," Pradhan said.
TAPI will carry gas from Turkmenistan's Galkynysh field, better known by its previous name South Yoiotan Osman that holds gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic feets.
From the field, the pipeline will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan. In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India.
"TAPI will provide an alternative supply source of gas with dependable reserves leading to enhanced energy security. It will further diversify the fuel basket to the benefit of Indian economy," he said adding the gas would be used mainly in power, fertilizer and city gas sectors.