Islamabad, Nov 25 (IANS) The construction of the TAPI gas pipeline involving Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will begin from December 13, an official said.
The ground breaking ceremony of the 1,735-km long gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India (TAPI) will take place in Turkmenistan, Radio Pakistan quoted Turkmenistan Ambassador to Pakistan Atadjan Movlamov as saying on Tuesday.
The transnational gas pipeline project is vital for the economic growth of the regional countries, Pakistan’s Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada said.
He said the TAPI project was vital for Pakistan’s energy needs and would strengthen relations between Islamabad and Ashgabat.
He said the project would be beneficial for the economies of both the countries.
Turkmenistan state media reported this month that Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have agreed to jointly launch the construction of the multi-billion dollar TAPI pipeline.
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was reported to have discussed the new pipeline in a phone call with Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani, who hailed it as “extremely important for the entire region”.
Ghani accepted Berdymukhamedov’s invitation to attend the ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on December 13, the report said.
Khaama press had quoted an official in Turkmenistan as saying that work on the TAPI gas pipeline was expected to begin in December.
The official said “The Turkmenistan stretch of the pipeline to the Afghanistan border will be built by a (Turkmenistan) oil and gas pipeline construction firm.”
Supported by the US and the Asian Development Bank, the gas pipeline would help Turkmenistan to find new consumers in Asia via Afghanistan.
The official also said that international energy companies would join the TAPI project at a later stage.
The construction is expected to be completed in three years.
The gas pipeline is expected to last 30 years with a proposed annual capacity of transporting 33 billion cubic metres of gas.
The TAPI pipeline would span more than 700 km in Afghanistan on its way to Pakistan and India.
The pipeline would supply gas from Turkmenistan’s mammoth Galkynysh field, the world’s second largest reservoir of natural gas.