Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum said on Sunday that it is expected that the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline which is being built in Tukmenistan will reach the Afghanistan border in Herat by January.
The ministry said that initial work has begun to launch the project in Afghanistan. “When the pipeline arrives at the Herat border the Afghanistan government will start work on the following important works, first it will conduct technical ground and air surveys and more importantly, the route that the pipeline runs through will be cleared of mines,” said mines ministry spokesman Abdul Qadeer Mufti.
But economic analysts said that government is moving forward slowly especially given the length of pipeline that will cross Afghanistan. “It was said that the project will be implemented in 2017 but now they said that it will be implemented in 2020. However, as the government's actions show, its work may not end by the year 2020,” said Abdul Wasi Haidari an economics analyst. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum says that it is currently advising residents in areas that will be affected on the project.
The pipeline will be 1,735 kilometers long and has 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. The implementation of TAPI will earn Afghanistan up to $500 million USD a year in transit duties.
The project will also help Afghanistan to purchase 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas for thirty years at a reasonable price. The gas will be utilized in Hajigak iron mine and Mes Aynak copper project.
Some 200 kilometers will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 735 kilometers through Afghanistan, 800 kilometers through Pakistan up to Fazilka settlement on the border with India.