Afghanistan Wants TAPI Project To Be Implemented, Minister

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Kabul (BNA) The representatives of involved countries in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) project or project of transition of Turkmenistan gas to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan met recently in Islamabad. According to the reports, it is the 19th tetra-lateral session that was attended by ministers of mines and petroleum of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India. Minister of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan Daud Shah Saba headed the Afghan delegation in this meeting. In his speech addressed to the meeting, minister Saba said that Afghanistan wants this project be implemented and so, it makes effort till the negotiations bear result and work on the project to begin as soon as possible. Afghanistan is in a point that helps two executive sides of the project and is collaborator with consuming nations such as Pakistan and India. Afghanistan is concern lest the project not to implement on its due time and member nations not to face with new problems. So, we want the time not to be lost sans any reason and the project be implemented soon. Minister of Mines and Petroleum of Pakistan, Shahid Khan Abbasi is willing the project to begin through an international consortium.
An international consortium is needed for the extension of gas pipeline as fundamentally. Because, these four countries have their own technical, security and political problems and an independent company is not able to promote the process alone, because, this project is very large and needs $10billion investment. So, a consortium needs to be established and we make effort in the respect. This project takes four years till the Pakistan problems are removed. Simultaneous with it, ministers of mines and petroleum of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India met with Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and other authorities of Pakistan in connection with beginning of the project. Nawaz Sharif told ministers of mines of these three countries that Pakistan is in favor of beginning of the work of project, because, this is in the benefit of all these four countries. No official statement has been released about the result of the meeting of ministers of mines and petroleum and the authorities of embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad also refrained from commenting about the issue. Based on this reason, it is premature to express consideration about achievements and successes of this meeting. At the same time, a lecturer in faculty of economy in Kabul University, Saifuddin Saihoon said that as the implementation of the large projects is difficult to be implemented soon, there are several problems in the connection.
First, there is security problem. Another one is finding a company to meet the considerations of four countries and complete technical study. So far, no such consortium is found to study the project. He also said that the institution which funds the project is unknown so far. But, despite this, work is continuing in the connection. The countries are united and its itinerary is clear. But its work is not begun practically because of lack of a contracting company to promote the project. He said that Asian Development Bank and some other institutions showed interest to invest in this field, but so far, a certain contract has not been taken place in this project. Saihoon elucidated that different considerations of involved nations also caused that the work of the project be delayed. Obviously, this project would begin on its due time. Considering technical issues and leadership or the commitments of governments as well as the requirements which are existed for its implementation assure us about functioning of the project.  If the project be implemented, annually, Afghanistan would gain $400million as transit duty from this project. Another benefit is maintaining of gas energy in the course of this gas pipeline for cities and rural areas of Afghanistan, enlightening and warming of residential quarters as well as using of technical facilities provided through this project for promotion of activities of productive companies if need is felt for energy and employment of unemployed as labor and technicians. Beside these, implementation of this project is a great achievement for regional cooperation and friendship among regional countries and solution of economic problems. This is in a time that as of several years to date, the ministry of mines and petroleum of Afghanistan held several meetings in Islamabad in this regard but so far, there is no news about implementation of TAPI project in the region. Shukria Kohistani

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