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The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank. Expected to be completed around 2017, the pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. The abbreviation comes from the first letters of those countries. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road. Estimated cost of the pipeline project is reported at $7.6 billion. GAIL India may become a part of TAPI project.
The roots of this project lie in the involvement of international oil companies in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan beginning of 1990s. Russia, who controlled all export pipelines of these countries, consistently refusing to allow the use of its pipeline network, these companies needed an independent export route avoiding both Iran and Russia
On 24 April 2008, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan. The intergovernmental agreement on the pipeline was signed on 11 December 2010 inAshgabat. However, in April 2012, India and Afghanistan have failed to agree on transit fee for gas passing through Afghan territory. Consequently, Islamabad and New Delhi too could not agree on the transit fee for the segment of the pipeline passing through Pakistan, which has linked its fee structure to any India-Afghanistan agreement. On 16 May 2012, the Afghan Parliament, approved the agreement on a gas pipeline and the day after, the Indian Cabinet allowed state-run gas-firm GAIL to sign the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Turkmenistan’s national oil company
The pipeline will be 1,420 millimeters (56 in) in diameter with a working pressure of 100 standard atmospheres (10,000 kpa). The initial capacity will be 27 billion cubic metres (950 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year of which 2 billion cubic metres (71 billion cubic feet) will be provided to Afghanistan and 12.5 billion cubic metres (440 billion cubic feet) to each Pakistan and India. Later the capacity will increase to 33 billion cubic metres (1.2 trillion cubic feet).Six compressor stations would be constructed along the pipeline. The pipeline was expected to be operational by 2014.
The pipeline’s cost is estimated at US$7.6 billion. The Asian Development Bank has played a leading role in coordinating and facilitating the TAPI negotiation process. The four TAPI nations must still attract commercial partners to build, finance and operate the pipeline.