New Delhi: The much-discussed Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline will be built by 2017, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said Thursday.
Moily had earlier this week visit Ashgabat to attend the 17th Steering Committee meeting for the TAPI project. He also met Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
"The Turkmen President gave a categorical personal commitment and expressed strong determination for the timely implementation of the TAPI project," Moily told reporters here.
The multi-billion dollar project is to be executed by a consortium of international energy firms but no company with experience in building and operating transnational pipelines has so far come forward. The energy giants want a stake in the gas field in Turkmenistan as an incentive for building TAPI.
"Turkmenistan has agreed to consider the request of giving a stake in the gas field (that will feed TAPI)," Moily said.
The necessity for selection of an appropriate consortium leader at the earliest was also agreed upon, he said.
"A positive ambiance for the Steering Committee meeting was created by signing of the Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) that had, so far, been pending between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; thereby completing the explicit commitment of all four countries involved in the project," Moily said.
India and Pakistan had previously signed separate GSPAs with Turkmenistan for buying gas through the pipeline.
"The Steering Committee decided to conclude the Transaction Advisory Services Agreement and the formation of TAPI Ltd (which will build the project) in a time bound manner and committed to the timeline for completion of the project by 2017," the minister said.
The major objective of the Transaction Advisor Services was to search for a lead partner in the consortium (the consortium leader). A shortlist of companies will be provided by the Turkmen to the buyers by October/November, 2013 for consideration as the potential consortium leader for TAPI Ltd.
Currently, national oil companies of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmensitan hold 25 percent stake in TAPI Ltd. The consortium leader will take 50 percent interest, reducing stakes of the participating countries.
Asked about the security of supplies through troubled regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Moily said the project is being structured in such a way that supplies reach safely.
The international consortium would be responsible for safe delivery of gas at Indian border and New Delhi will pay for the gas only on condition on receiving physical supplies of the fuel at its border, he added.
First Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013, 19:17