We’ll see a renewed interest in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project once the LNG prices go up, Danila Bochkarev, a senior fellow at the EastWest Institute and expert in energy issues, told source. At this moment, the success of TAPI is fully conditioned by the security situation in Afghanistan, according to the expert. “Stability and increased security in Afghanistan is the key pre-condition for the success of this project,” he said.
Bochkarev further noted that global 'gas glut' reduces interest of Pakistan and India in TAPI as both countries have access to (relatively cheap) LNG, which can compete on the price-level with the supplies from TAPI.
“Last, but not least - financing of the pipeline might pose some challenges for the realization of this project,” he added. The expert noted that he would expect some delays in the construction of TAPI. “However, we'll see a renewed interest in the project once the LNG prices go up. The gas from the trans-Afghan pipeline will regain its competitiveness,” he said.
TAPI will make it possible to deliver gas from Turkmenistan, which ranks fourth in the world for its gas reserves, to large and promising markets of South and Southeast Asia. The pipeline will run from Galkynysh – the largest gas field in Turkmenistan – through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border. Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 billion cubic meters. Total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 kilometers. The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion. The Turkmen government said earlier that the state concern Turkmengas would be the main investor for the TAPI project.
Turkmenistan started construction of its section of TAPI in December 2015 and is expecting to finish it within three years. Time frame of the Afghan and Pakistani sections construction of the TAPI pipeline has not yet been determined. Nevertheless, the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited consortium developing the project has signed a contract with German ILF Beratende Ingenieure GmbH for the provision of services for the preliminary design and management of the project in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The technical work in the territory of these states has already started.