U.S. to maintain TAPI security

By Victoria Panfilova, a columnist of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

 

Ashkhabad is searching for a company that would head the consortium for construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. Turkmen Vice Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamuhammedov said that the company would get preferences, including a 20-year contract. The fact that the U.S. guaranteesuch the security of the project makes the offer even more attractive.

Representatives of international energy companies, functionaries and diplomats, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum, discussed the TAPI project in Ashkhabad at the end of last week. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that realization of the project should meet the growing demands of the Asian energy market by exporting Turkmen gas. He expects that construction of TAPI will start next year. This needs a company that would coordinate Turkmengaz (Turkmenistan), Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and GAIL (India) Limited in constructing the pipeline. There have been no volunteers so far. The passivity of world corporations may be explained by the route TAPI will take through unsafe Afghanistan and unstable Pakistan.

The Turkmen government has developed a package of proposals to make TAPI more attractive. Baymurad Khojamuhammedov said at the conference that all contracts on the purchase and sale of gas had been signed, all additional research done, feasibility studies completed and TAPI Ltd. registered.

In his words, the government of Turkmenistan had come up with a flexible scheme that would keep the company making profits, make investments pay off and enjoy a 20-year contract which may be further extended.

According to the project, the pipeline will be 1,800km long. Its capacity will amount to 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 30 years. The project will be worth around $12 billion. India and Pakistan will consume 14 billion cubic meters of gas each. Afghanistan will get 5 billion cubic meters. The Galkynysh Field will be the main gas source, it is one of the world’s largest gas fields, according to Ashkhabad.

Daniel Rosenblum made it clear that the U.S. was interested in realization of the TAPI gas pipeline project. U.S. President Barack Obama signed a decree to expand the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported. American forces in Afghanistan may fully engage in combat. Experts do not rule out that American bases may remain active. In that case, the U.S. would enforce the security of TAPI. The pipeline will run from Toraghundi to Herat, Shindand, Helmand, Kandahar, Spinbuldak and finally to Fazilka on the Indian-Pakistani border. Alexander Knyazev, an expert on Central Asia and the Middle East, noted that the pipeline will run close to American bases, making its protection a new goal for U.S. troops.

Spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department Victoria Nuland said earlier that the U.S. was fully supporting the project and would gladly offer other assistance if asked. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is more enthusiastic about military cooperation with the U.S. than his predecessor Hamid Karzai and has already agreed to expand Washington’s military mission. Moreover, Ghani and his National Security Advisor Hani Atmar asked Washington to continue fighting the Taliban movement in 2015. They lifted restrictions on U.S. air raids and joint operations together with Afghan forces, which had been set during the presidency of Hami Karzai.

“It has been obvious for a long time that the Chinese are paying commanders of the Taliban for the security of their projects in Afghanistan. The TAPI consortium can take the same approach,” said Andrey Kazantsev, the director of the MGIMO analytical center.

Part of U.S. forces remain in AfghanistanBy Victoria Panfilova, a columnist of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, exclusively for Vestnik KavkazaAshkhabad is searching for a company that would head the consortium for construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. Turkmen Vice Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamuhammedov said that the company would get preferences, including a 20-year contract. The fact that the U.S. guaranteesuch the security of the project makes the offer even more attractive.Representatives of international energy companies, functionaries and diplomats, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum, discussed the TAPI project in Ashkhabad at the end of last week. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that realization of the project should meet the growing demands of the Asian energy market by exporting Turkmen gas. He expects that construction of TAPI will start next year. This needs a company that would coordinate Turkmengaz (Turkmenistan), Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and GAIL (India) Limited in constructing the pipeline. There have been no volunteers so far. The passivity of world corporations may be explained by the route TAPI will take through unsafe Afghanistan and unstable Pakistan.The Turkmen government has developed a package of proposals to make TAPI more attractive. Baymurad Khojamuhammedov said at the conference that all contracts on the purchase and sale of gas had been signed, all additional research done, feasibility studies completed and TAPI Ltd. registered.In his words, the government of Turkmenistan had come up with a flexible scheme that would keep the company making profits, make investments pay off and enjoy a 20-year contract which may be further extended.According to the project, the pipeline will be 1,800km long. Its capacity will amount to 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 30 years. The project will be worth around $12 billion. India and Pakistan will consume 14 billion cubic meters of gas each. Afghanistan will get 5 billion cubic meters. The Galkynysh Field will be the main gas source, it is one of the world’s largest gas fields, according to Ashkhabad.Daniel Rosenblum made it clear that the U.S. was interested in realization of the TAPI gas pipeline project. U.S. President Barack Obama signed a decree to expand the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported. American forces in Afghanistan may fully engage in combat. Experts do not rule out that American bases may remain active. In that case, the U.S. would enforce the security of TAPI. The pipeline will run from Toraghundi to Herat, Shindand, Helmand, Kandahar, Spinbuldak and finally to Fazilka on the Indian-Pakistani border. Alexander Knyazev, an expert on Central Asia and the Middle East, noted that the pipeline will run close to American bases, making its protection a new goal for U.S. troops.Spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department Victoria Nuland said earlier that the U.S. was fully supporting the project and would gladly offer other assistance if asked. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is more enthusiastic about military cooperation with the U.S. than his predecessor Hamid Karzai and has already agreed to expand Washington’s military mission. Moreover, Ghani and his National Security Advisor Hani Atmar asked Washington to continue fighting the Taliban movement in 2015. They lifted restrictions on U.S. air raids and joint operations together with Afghan forces, which had been set during the presidency of Hami Karzai.“It has been obvious for a long time that the Chinese are paying commanders of the Taliban for the security of their projects in Afghanistan. The TAPI consortium can take the same approach,” said Andrey Kazantsev, the director of the MGIMO analytical cent

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