The much talked about cross border Turkmenistan gas
pipeline project with economic fall out over at least 3-4 countries of
the region may go into operation by 2008.
Especially Pakistan, which is the main stakeholder
of this multinational project is sorting out currently teething
Although India has not yet given its consent to
participate in this 1700 km long pipeline project from Ashkabad,
Turkmenistan to Multan in Pakistan, yet the energy starved India may
have no option but to enter into this project to meet its 5-6 billion
cubic feet gas requirement per day.
The next meeting of the steering committee is going
to be held at Islamabad to discuss the issues agitating the minds of
the partners and the international financing agencies. The main issue
to be taken up in the next meeting of the steering committee is to
ascertain a certificate from the government of Turkmenistan about
availability of the gas in Daulatabad Gasfield.
According to informed sources, the issue was arisen
following reports that the Turkmenistan government had entered into an
agreement with some other buyers for the supply of gas from the same
field. Since a huge investment worth $3.5 billion was involved in this
project, all the stakeholders are naturally eager to know about the
capacity and depth of the Gasfield, which could cater to the needs of
the gas requirement in this region. Obviously, the investors would
like to have correct and authentication through a certification of
independent surveyors about the capacity of the Gasfield. It is also
hoped that once the work on Turkmenistan gas pipeline projects was
started it will pave the way for other gas pipeline project from Iran
also. The economics of the two projects have already been worked out
which are not only feasible but would greatly help booming the economy
of the region.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would also
formally reinitiate the expressions of interest for the project after
the next steering committee meet.
The foreign diplomats of various countries have
started communications and meetings with the Pakistan officials to
pursue the Turkmenistan gas pipeline project.
About 40 different companies have also shown
interest in the Turkmenistan gas pipeline project and some of them had
even sought technical details of the project.
The parties to the project have already agreed to
the Southern route for the project that starts from Daulatabad to
Herat-Kandahar-Quetta and Multan.
The project also envisaged gas storage facilities
in Pakistan and establishment of an independent security agency to
take care of the 1700-km gas pipeline.
India currently required 5-6 billion cubic feet per
day of natural gas and the market would be growing even further. This
indicted that perhaps India would need gas intakes from both the
pipelines including from Iran and Turkmenistan.
Pakistan, however, being the main partner of this
multi-national project has asked Turkmenistan to provide certificates
of the original and any subsequent reserve studies of the Daulatabad
Gasfield carried out by an independent engineer of international
Pakistan has rightly taken precautionary measures
before entering to this $3.5 billion cross border project.
Unless complete information about the Gasfield and
its reserves are made available, no bank, independence lending
institution or project sponsor would be willing to joint the $3.5
billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline project.
Pakistan is to the opinion that even the Government
of Pakistan finds it difficult to back up any buyer's guarantee for
the purchase of gas in the absence of the certification of reserves
and allocation of the natural gas to this project and other associated
guarantees on allocation to this project from the government of
Also no project would be willing to enter into the
Gas Transportation Agreement with Turkmenistan in the absence of the
Pakistan has also complained that Turkmenistan
minister of oil and gas industry Tachberdi Tageiv had promised a
presentation on the gas potential of the Daulatabad field on the
sidelines of sixth steering committee meeting held in Ashkabad, which
also remained unfulfilled.
Pakistan was asking the Turkmenistan government to
facilitate a visit of technical team from Pakistan for preliminary
interaction with experts from that country to review relevant data
pertaining to the Daulatabad Gasfield.
Pakistan has also sought information relating to
gas produced since the start of supplies from the field and the
remaining recoverable reserves, information on dedication of the field
reserves for any other buyer under a long term agreement and maximum
gas processing capacity installed and the date of initial installation
along with current production rates of pipeline quality gas.
Pakistan also wants information relating to future
plans for installing additional production capacity and time frame to
meet the project gas flow requirement in phases starting May 2008 at
about 0.6-1 billion cubic feet per day to 2-2.5 billion by 2015.