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Pakistan, Turkmenistan ink Host Govt Agreement on Tapi

Govt is hopeful that ground breaking of the project would be held in Pakistan this year,” says Sarwar
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Turkmenistan Tuesday inked the Host Government Agreement on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline network.
The agreement was signed by the Federal Secretary Petroleum Mian Asad Hayauddin from the Pakistani side and CEO of TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) Amanov on behalf of TAPI company. Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov were also present on the occasion.
The Turkmen foreign minister apprised the minister of his government’s initiatives in ensuring that the timeline of the project were being met. The Turkmen minister appreciated the fact that HGA had been signed through mutual agreement and consensus. He welcomed Pakistan’s continued commitment and active interest in the TAPI gas project.
He appreciated the strong support being received by Pakistan towards the TAPI gas pipeline project. The Turkmen minister discussed with Pakistani delegation his government’s plan to make transport and energy corridor between Pakistan and Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and to lay an optic fiber network parallel to the route of the pipeline and see its possible extension till China.
Proposal is to lay 56-inch diameter 1,680-km pipeline
Ghulam Sarwar Khan welcomed signing of the HGA as an important event in the history of the TAPI gas pipeline project. The federal minister reiterated his government’s complete commitment towards the early and successful implementation of the project. He was hopeful that ground breaking of the project could be held in Pakistan this year.
TAPI gas pipeline project aims to bring natural gas from the Gylkynish and adjacent gas fields in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The ADB is acting as the facilitator and coordinator for the project. It is proposed to lay a 56-inch diameter 1,680 Km pipeline with design capacity of 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum (Bcfd) from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Pak-India border. There are two phases of this project, the first phase is free flow phase with estimated cost of $5-6 billion while the second phase is installation of compressor stations with the cost of $1.9-2 billion. Civil works of the project have already commenced in Afghanistan after the project’s ground breaking (Afghan section) was held last year. Both, Turkmenistan and Pakistan resolved to hold the steering committee meeting of the project during the ongoing month. The tenders relating to this project will be analysed in next two months. The construction equipment will be procured in May 2019. The land will be acquired in July 2019. Sarwar praised the current state of friendly bilateral relations between both the countries and expressed his satisfaction over expansion of relations in fields such as technology. The Turkmen minister termed Pakistan a brotherly country which was holding a significant place in Turkmenistan’s global outlook.
Pakistan, Turkmenistan to establish JWG on power transmission
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to establish a joint working group (JWG) to discuss and finalise negotiations on electricity transmission from Turkmenistan.
The decision to establish a joint working group was taken in a delegation-level meeting between the two countries. Pakistani side was headed by Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan while the Turkmen side was jointly led by Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and Energy Minister Döwran Rejepow. The joint working group will finalise negotiations on electricity transmission line from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
Underscoring the importance of deep bonds between people of Pakistan and South Asia, Omar Ayub Khan said that there existed a huge potential of trade and development with interconnection of two regions. He said that Pakistan’s location offered shortest and most feasible route to sea via its deep sea ports to the Central Asian States. He stressed that peace and stability must return to Afghanistan which will not only be in the interest of Pakistan but for both regions i.e South and Central Asia.
Highlighting the recent policies that present government in Pakistan was undertaking in the energy sector, Omar Ayub Khan said open and competitive electricity market was being envisaged which would not only offer exponential investment opportunities to entrepreneurs but also open vistas for regional electricity trade.
He said grids interconnectivity among Central Asian states and South Asian countries will also attract other countries especially along the CPEC route.
The foreign minister for Turkmenistan thanked Pakistani side for extending warm welcome to the delegation. He agreed with Pakistan’s minister for power regarding importance of existing deep-rooted relations between the two countries and expressed the desire to further boost the relations to new heights. He also agreed that both countries must take solid steps to utilise their resources for development and betterment of their people.
The Turkmen minister for energy explained that Turkmenistan had huge reservoirs of natural gas and hence its utilisation in making affordable electricity was also very feasible. He said that Turkmenistan had already established huge power generation facilities and had surplus electricity available at affordable and competitive rates that could be exported to Pakistan via a transmission line.
The Turkmen foreign minister added that Turkmenistan President had especially asked him to discuss all viabilities for the project which explained that there existed a strong political will to undertake the project.
Source: The Nation