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TAPI gas line: Pakistan not to bear gas transit risk in Afghanistan

TAPI gas line: Pakistan not to bear gas transit risk in Afghanistan

Islamabad, July 29 - Neftegaz.RU.
Pakistan has told Turkmenistan in plain words that Islamabad will not bear the gas transit risk in war-ravaged Afghanistan under $8 billion TAPI gas line.

In case of halt of gas provision to Pakistan because of any subversive activity in Afghanistan, Pakistan will never take the risk at any cost, rather Turkmenistan will have to bear the risk.

More importantly, the financial commitment on behalf of Pakistan is to start when Turkmenistan ensures the gas supply on Pakistan border, not at border of Afghanistan shared with Turkmenistan. This has been clearly conveyed to Turkmenistan top authorities, top sources close to Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar told The News.

Prior to it, Pakistan has already agitated with authorities of Turkmenistan the issue of reviewing the gas prices arguing that the gas price formula under which the gas prices of every buying countries has been worked out, is too much complicated and if new gas price is worked out while keeping in view the existing gas price formula, the gas price that we get is costlier even than the existing LNG price. ‘So we want Turkmenistan to review gas price formula prior to much awaited ground breaking of the portion of TAPI pipeline in the territory of Pakistan.

A high-power delegation of Turkmen Gas Company is due in Pakistan to discuss the issues raised by Pakistan. Now Turkmenistan wants, under new scenario, Pakistan experts’ delegation to come to Ashgabat and extends the date of August 11, 2019. Because of Eidul Azha the date may get changed.

“Yes, we wrote a letter to Turkmenistan authorities 7 months back seeking the dialogue for review of the gas pricing formula before embarking upon the construction of the portion of the pipeline in Pakistan’s territory and to this effect Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar asked the authorities of Turkmenistan to 1st review the gas prices downward before initiating the project,” a relevant top official confirmed to The News.

Coming to the new issue of bearing risk of gas provision because of Afghanistan highlighted by Pakistan that it will only honour its financial commitment when it gets the gas delivery on its border.

Turkmenistan 1st asked Pakistan to discuss this issue with Afghanistan, but Islamabad responded saying that it is purchasing the gas from Turkmenistan and Pakistan wants gas delivery on its border. Since Afghanistan has been at war for many decades, so Pakistan cannot bear the risk of gas provision in Afghanistan.

During the recent visit, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani acknowledged the issue raised by Pakistan and assured that in this regard the authorities will soon meet counterparts of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

To a question, the top man in the Petroleum Division said that Turkmenistan has shown willingness to review gas prices.

The 3 buyer countries - Afghanistan, Pakistan and India - had inked the gas sales purchase agreement with Turkmenistan on bilateral basis. Now all the buyer countries want to unfold their prices and want the re-negotiations.

To a question, he said that the financial colure of the project is to be completed by September and ground breaking would be held in October 2019 for laying down the 800 km portion of TAPI line in Pakistan territory. The project will be operational by 2020.

Author: Khalid Mustafa

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