With the Iran-Pakistan-India cross-border gas pipeline running into US opposition, efforts have begun to give shape to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India route as an alternative source of gas for the energy starved region.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), sponsor of the multi-nation pipeline, has now proposed April 21-24 as new dates for the tenth steering committee and technical working committee meeting. The earlier meeting slated for February 11-14 was postponed in order to get an update of a four-year-old feasibility study.
“Project parameters may have changed since then and the cost and other factors of the study are now out of date. It is proposed that a desktop update of the study be performed and the report submitted to the technical working group before the tenth steering committee meeting,” a communication from the ADB stated.
To ensure a quick update, the ADB has decided to hire Penspen Le, consultants to the original study.
“A fuller update that will be necessary for due diligence work will be suggested for the next stage of the project after the member countries sign the principal agreements that are proposed at the steering committee meeting,” the ADB added.
Sources said Turkmenistan would make a presentation on the potential of its gas reserves and on the volume available for export to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The buyers are expected to make demand projections and quantity of gas they need through this particular pipeline.
According to the draft agreement proposed earlier, Turkmenistan has projected gas reserves of 159 trillion cubic feet at its Dauletabad fields, of which 34.26 trillion cubic feet will be earmarked for the pipeline.
Pakistan wants to import 15 million metric standard cubic metres per day (MMSCMD) of gas through the pipeline in the first year, 30 MMSCMD in the second and 45 mmscmd annually from the third year onward. Of the 45 MMSCMD gas allocated for India and Afghanistan over the 30-year project life, Kabul will take 5 MMSCMD in the first year and step this up to 14 MMSCMD by the fifth year.