Shareholders of TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) have signed an Investment Agreement at a ceremony attended by petroleum ministers and senior government officials from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India, as well as senior Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials.
According to a press release issued by ADB, the agreement will pave the way for the delivery of a long-term supply of natural gas, supporting Afghanistan's energy needs and helping it rebuild links with neighboring "Silk Road" countries.
The Investment Agreement provides an initial budget of over $200 million USD to fund the next phase of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. This includes funding for detailed engineering and route surveys, environmental and social safeguard studies, and procurement and financing activities, to enable a financial investment decision, after which construction will begin. It is estimated that construction will take up to three years.
"Once completed, the TAPI pipeline will provide a sustainable source of energy for Afghanistan, help catalyze investment and create local job opportunities," said Mir Ahmed Jawid Sadat, Afghanistan's Deputy Minister of Mines and Petroleum. "Critically it also provides a mechanism for renewing partnerships with our 'Silk Road' neighbors, and shows the desire of the region for peace, stability and security through economic development."
TPCL will build, own, and operate the TAPI pipeline, which once completed, will transport up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan for the next 30 years. The pipeline stretches about 1,600 kilometers from the Afghan/Turkmen border to the Pakistan/Indian border.
"TAPI exemplifies ADB's key role in promoting regional cooperation and integration over the past 20 years. It will unlock economic opportunities, transform infrastructure, diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan, and enhance energy security for the region," said Sean O'Sullivan, Director General of ADB's Central and West Asia Department.
Acting as TAPI secretariat since 2003 and as transaction advisor since 2013, ADB has been instrumental in the progress of the TAPI pipeline to date. In the latter role, ADB helped establish TPCL, select Turkmengaz as consortium leader, and finalize the Shareholders and Investment Agreements.