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India to be invited for Afghanistan gas pipeline project

April 07, 2003 17:09 IST

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan will meet in Manila on Tuesday to formally invite Indian participation in the transnational pipeline project originating from Dauletabad fields in Turkmenistan.

Apart from discussing Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project, the three countries, which will meet at the two-day Fifth Steering Committee Meeting, would consider the report on the market study for Turkmen gas in Pakistan and northern India, the Asian Development Bank said in a statement.

India's participation in the project is vital as it has the biggest natural gas market, which would make the pipeline profitable. They will consider key issues relating to the structure and the salient points of various agreements being drafted as part of ADB assistance to the project.

The drafts include the Host Country Agreement, Transport Agreement, and Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement, ADB said.

The Manila meeting would also consider the way forward and future plans vis-a-vis pipeline.

The 1,600-km transnational gas pipeline is expected to transport up to 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from the Dauletabad fields in southeast Turkmenistan to consumers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and possibly India.

The project would provide cheaper and cleaner energy to consumers, generate income that could be used to enhance public services, and contribute to regional stability, ADB Director-General, South Asia Department, Yoshihiro Iwasaki said.

''The TAP Project can also demonstrate to the nations of Western Asia that a major cross-border initiative can be launched if there is strong political will and commitment to move forward,'' said Muhammad Tusneem, Director-General of ADB's East and Central Asia Department.

The fourth Steering Committee Meeting, held in Islamabad in February 2003, discussed a preliminary risk analysis conducted by ADB and possible mitigation measures to enhance the commercial attractiveness of the TAP Project.

The fourth meeting also agreed to invite India formally to join the TAP Project as a major purchaser of the gas and also possibly as an investor.

The ADB has approved a $1 million technical assistance grant for undertaking a technical feasibility study of the project in December 2002.

During his recent visit, Afghanistan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai had also sought Indian participation in the TAP project.

UNI


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