Officers of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are set to satisfy in Ashgabat subsequent week to push forward with a deliberate transnational fuel pipeline connecting the 4 nations and attain a settlement on the award of the multi-billion-dollar mission to US firms.
“The US is pushing the 4 nations to grant the profitable pipeline contract to its power giants. Two US companies – Chevron and ExxonMobil – are within the race to change into consortium leaders, win the mission and finance the laying of the pipeline,” a senior authorities official mentioned.
Washington has been lobbying for the fuel provide mission, referred to as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (Tapi) pipeline, terming it a super scheme to deal with power shortages in Pakistan. On the opposite facet, it pressed Islamabad to shelve the Iran-Pakistan fuel pipeline due to a nuclear standoff with Tehran.
In 1997, US-based Unicol, which was the consortium chief to finance the Tapi pipeline, pulled out following directives of the US State Division, which feared that the royalty generated from the scheme would land in Taliban’s arms.
Unicol withdrew after Pakistan signed a fuel framework settlement to safe cheaper provides, leaving the nation within the lurch.
In line with officers, Petroleum and Pure Sources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will lead a delegation on the assembly of the TAPI pipeline steering committee on July eight in Ashgabat.
Earlier than this assembly, a technical group will maintain talks on July 6 and seven to settle technical points pertaining to bid paperwork. At current, bid paperwork are being ready in session with the Asian Improvement Financial institution, which is enjoying the function of transaction adviser. The paperwork will probably be given to the 2 firms just for participating within the tender.
Chevron is lobbying in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to clinch a deal, backed by the US State Division. Nonetheless, different firms might additionally change into a part of the consortium that will probably be led both by Chevron or ExxonMobil.
A technically succesful and financially sound firm will probably be chosen because the consortium chief, which is able to design, finance, assemble, personal and function the fuel pipeline that can begin from Turkmenistan.
Officers identified that Chevron and ExxonMobil had not but resolved the difficulty of fuel extraction contracts for fields in Turkmenistan. They need the contracts towards financing for constructing the pipeline, however Turkmenistan doesn’t give onshore exploration rights to overseas firms and is providing offshore drilling concessions to the US companies.
To facilitate the 2 firms, Turkmenistan, nonetheless, presents to swap the fuel extracted from offshore fields with that of onshore fields for export to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India underneath the TAPI mission.
China desires to affix TAPI
Officers revealed that China had additionally expressed curiosity in turning into a part of the TAPI pipeline mission. “As soon as the fuel extraction contract challenge is resolved, we’ll maintain negotiations with Beijing,” an official mentioned.
“The extension of the pipeline to China by way of Gwadar will strengthen financial actions in Balochistan. Bangladesh has additionally expressed curiosity and if it formally joins, the pipeline will join a wider area,” the official added.
Pipelines are a less expensive supply of fuel in comparison with liquefied pure fuel (LNG), which prices within the vary of $16 to $18 per million British thermal items (mmbtu). Pakistan faces an acute scarcity of fuel, significantly in winter, as home assets fall method in need of assembly its wants and it’s weighing all choices to safe power provides.
Below the TAPI mission, Pakistan will obtain 1.365 billion cubic toes of fuel per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan, India may also obtain the identical 1.365 bcfd and Afghanistan will get 0.5 bcfd.
Turkmenistan will export pure fuel by way of a 1,800km pipeline that can attain India after passing by way of Afghanistan and Pakistan.