One of the major concerns of India for joining the
cross border natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan or Iran was the
security risk of the pipelines passing through Afghanistan in view of
the disturbed political conditions in that country. Obviously, the
strained political relations between Pakistan and India were another
factor which so far kept India away from joining the cross border
The concerns were well taken and the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) in order to overcome any eventually which may
disrupt the supply of gas through the pipeline project, has offered to
provide technical assistance in creating gas storage facilities to
ensure uninterrupted gas supplies in case of any possible eventualities.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a
$700,000 technical assistance grant for a study to locate area for
construction of natural gas reservoirs in Pakistan. The study is to be
conducted as a precautionary measure to ensure uninterrupted gas supply
in the vent of possible disruption in gas supply from the proposed
Turkmenistan-Afghan-Pakistan (TAP). The TAP natural gas pipeline project
is a 1700km pipeline that will transport up to 30 billion cubic meters
of natural gas annually from Daulatabad gas fields in south East
Turkmenistan to consumers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and possibly to
India. During recent visits by trade delegations from Pakistan, the gas
pipeline projects were discussed between the private sector
representatives of the two countries and the people coming back from
India have indicated that the industrial trade and business community is
supporting the project with the hope that much needed cheaper natural
gas would greatly help redressing the acute energy shortage specially in
northern parts of Pakistan. Traders are of the view that the Indian
leadership is also re-looking at the project and there are strong
indications that not only India but investors from rest of the world are
also coming in to participate in these multi-million cross border
The Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural
Resources, Nauraiz Shakoor has also invited foreign investors to take
benefit of the incentives offered by the government in on-shore and
off-shore oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan. The minister
was speaking at the first ever Caspian and Black Sea Oil and Gas
conference-2004 held in Turkey last week. Highlighting the vibrant
energy sector in Pakistan, the minister said that oil and gas sector is
being developed on sound footings in Pakistan which is not only
attracting foreign investment but also has put the country on the path
of self-reliance in the energy sector.
At present 25 companies, out of which 22 are foreign,
busy in oil and gas exploration and production in Pakistan.
There are vast opportunities for the investors in oil
and gas sector, particularly in upgradation of refineries, setting up of
coastal refinery, regional gas pipelines from Turkmenistan and Iran to
Pakistan. The $3.3 billion project, take five years. It will begin after
the countries involved and other partners would finalize various project
Underground reservoirs are proposed for Pakistan to
store sufficient quantity of gas in case of any disruption owing to any
political or other kind of disturbance in transportation of the gas
through the pipeline. The gas demand in Pakistan is gradually increasing
with the switching over of various gas consuming sector from oil to gas
fired system, especially in power generation and transportation sectors.
The technical assistance from ADB will identify
possible reservoirs based on size, containment capacity, productivity
The short-listed reservoirs will undergo a more
detailed evaluation. Other facilities needed to integrate the reservoirs
with the gas infrastructure will also be evaluated. Cost estimates and
implementation schedules to develop and integrate the selected
reservoirs will be prepared.
The technical assistance will also provide legal
advisory services to help the governments in finalizing various project
agreements and disseminate information about the project among major oil
and gas transportation companies to facilitate bid solicitation.
The ADB has previously financed a techno-economic
feasibility study for the pipeline project, a market study on demand for
natural gas in Pakistan and northern India, and a risk analysis and risk
mitigation study on concerns of consumers in gas supply is disrupted.
The technical assistance is due for completion in October this year.
The Government of Pakistan will contribute $125,000
equivalent towards its total cost of $825,000.nd cotton yarn prices.