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June 17, 2019

Preparations on track to implement TAPI project: Turkmen official

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June 17, 2019

KABUL: A high-level delegation from Turkmenistan visited the Herat province on Sunday where they said that all preparations are on track to implement the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

Delegates from the two sides signed agreements on expansion of Turghundi-Herat and Aqina-Andkhoi railway projects including the expansion of power distribution to Herat city and practical implementation of TAPI and TAP projects. The Acting Minister of Finance, Humayun Qayumi, said Afghanistan is expected to import military uniforms from Turkmenistan for members of the Afghan security forces in exchange for marbles.

“The Turkmen team told us that during the current year, practical work will start from Turkmenistan towards Herat,” Qayumi said. In January 2016, leaders from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India officially inaugurated the $10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project.

At least 200 kilometers of the pipeline will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 735 kilometers through Afghanistan, 800 kilometers through Pakistan up to Fazilka settlement on the border with India. The trans-regional energy project, which will carry gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India is being hailed as a major initiative for bringing peace and enhancing connectivity in the region.

Reports indicate, however, at an earlier completion date of 2018. TAPI’s construction is led by state gas firm Turkmengas but none of the global energy majors have so far committed to the project that will cost as much as a third of Turkmenistan’s total 2016 budget.

Afghanistan is expected to earn more than $400 million in transit duties annually from the project. According to President Ghani’s Office, the project will create thousands of job opportunities for Afghans.

Afghanistan will annually get 500 million cubic meters of gas from the project in the first ten years. The amount will increase to one billion cubic meters of gas in the following ten years and 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas in the third 10 years after the completion of the project. The TAPI project was recently changed into a collective of other projects which will be implemented alongside this key initiative for Afghanistan.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500 kilovolts Line (TAP-500) will transfer Turkmenistan’s electricity to Pakistan through Afghanistan. According to President Ghani’s Office, Afghanistan is expected to earn $110 million USD annually from the TAP project.

During this period, threesubstations of power will be established in Herat, Farah and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan. An optic fiber will also connect regional and neighboring countries under the TAPI project, President Ghani’s Office said. Another major part of the project is the national and regional railway which connects Pakistan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the 13-kilometer railway of Torghundi Port of Afghanistan will be reconstructed by Turkmenistan. This project will cost $10.5 million.

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