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TAPI pipeline project: Gas price, transit fees not resolved yet

Thursday April 28, 2011 10:39:41 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: With the issues of gas prices and transit fees still remaining, the four ministers participating in a meeting on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project Thursday announced a July 31 deadline to sign the gas sales purchase agreement (GSPA).

"We have decided that we should sign the GSPA by July 31," India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said at the end of four days of meetings on the TAPI project. The technical working group deliberated on the first three days, followed by the steering committee meeting Thursday.

Besides Reddy, the steering committee meeting was attended by Afghanistan's Mines Minister of mines, W.Shahrani, Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain and Tukrmenistan Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Minister B. Nedirov.

It was announced the technical working group will finalise the GSPA by June 30, so that it is formally signed by July 31.

"The fundamental issues that remain to be finalised is the pricing of gas, the transit fee to be charged by Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are reasonably confident that all the issues can be resolved either tomorrow or in the next meeting," said Indian Petroleum Secretary S. Sundaresan.

He said that so far 26 out of the 39 issues in the GSPA have been resolved. The next meeting will be held in Kabul May 13-14.

"We are going to start discussions on pricing immediately. The government of Afghanistan invited us for the next meeting sometime in May, where further progress will be made on this. Turkmenistan has been extremely positive on having a reasonable price, but we have not gone into numbers yet," said Sundaresan.

Speaking to reporters, Hussain said: "We are looking at the security concerns. We will certainly take into consideration whatever region it is passing through and make arrangements for the security as it is in everybody's interest."

The 1,700 kilometre TAPI pipeline is expected to be completed by 2016, at a cost of $7.6 billion. It would carry 90 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscmd) of gas, with 14 mmscmd meant for Afghanistan and 38 mmscmd each for India and Pakistan.

India formally became a member of TAPI project in April 2008.

Besides, the technical working group has finalised the terms of reference of the transaction advisor, who will facilitiate the formation of consortium to implement the project.





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(Photo: Manoj)



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