Home Economy Realization of “TAPI” gas pipeline project appears doubtful: Report

Realization of “TAPI” gas pipeline project appears doubtful: Report


New Delhi : Even as India gears up to resume talks on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, energy experts feel that realization of the competing Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) project appears doubtful.

Not only would the TAPI pipeline travel through a troubled Afghanistan, experts express lack of confidence in sufficient gas reserves with Turkmenistan to meet all its assurances to China, Russia as well as Pakistan and India.

The pipeline is estimated to cost $ 8 billion and according to original projections, work should start in 2010 and end after five years. The problem of guaranteeing an adequate quantity of gas for TAPI could be overcome if Turkmenistan agreed to connect the pipeline from its Daulatabad reserve to the IPI gas pipeline, a leading english daily, “The Hindu” reported here today quoting experts.

On surface, the conditions in Afghanistan are the major cause for concern for the TAPI project. Taliban is active in south west part of the country which is near the proposed route for the pipeline. Experts do not expect the security threat to minimise in the near future. But more than unsettled conditions in Afghanistan, experts doubt whether there are enough gas reserves to fill all the pipelines being proposed by Turkmenistan without substantially increasing production.

At present the trend of increase in output did not seem to correspond with the number of projects that were on the drawing board, they said on condition of anonymity. In 2007, Ashkhabad produced 70 billion cubic meters of gas which was short of the previous year’s target by 10 billion cubic meters. This makes it highly unlikely that Turkmenistan would be able to achieve its projected target of 250 billion cubic meters of gas and 110 million tonnes of oil by 2030.

Turkmenistan has concluded side projects of the Caspian Sea gas pipeline, modernization of the Central Asian pipeline and also the gas pipeline with China which is under construction. It is expected that these commitments alone will account for all of Turkmenistan’s gas production targets of 2030, provided it is able to achieve them.

“Taking into account these considerations, the resource base of TAPI appears to be at a level that is too low to initiate this project. The volumes may be enough to cover other commitments. There is simply no gas for other markets,