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TAPI Price Deal Seems to Be Closed

Thursday 17 May 2012

KABUL – Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament of Afghanistan, approved the agreement on a gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.

The Senate approved the accord on the multibillion-dollar project, also known as TAPI pipeline, after it was placed before the house by the Public Welfare Committee.

Dr Ahmad Bashir Samim, the parliamentary panel head, said all the 80 members present during the session voted in favour of the agreement that was signed in late 2010. He added Asian Development Bank-supported scheme, long delayed by security concerns in the region, would cost around US $9 billion (about 450 billion afs).

A feasibility study for the gas pipeline, which will deliver 34 billion m³ of gas annually and earn Afghanistan $430 million a year in transit fee, has already been completed.

Afghan Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani, who visited Ashgabat on April 4, held productive talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the project. Afghan, Pakistani, Indian and Turkmen ministers, as well as an ADB representative, are to meet in Ashgabat later this month to discuss the fate of the project.

Under Article 90 of the Constitution, parliament is authorized to endorse or reject Afghanistan’s agreements with foreign countries.

The deal would have a lifespan of 30 years and require roughly one trillion cubic meters of Turkmenistan’s gas. Originally planned to be sourced from Dauletabad, the gas will instead, according to Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, come from the massive South Yolotan fields that the British auditing firm Gaffney Kline confirms to hold between 13.1 and 21.2 trillion m³.

Indian Petroleum Ministry officials have confirmed to the Indian press that India will sign the Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) as soon as the cabinet approves the note prepared for its action. This confirmation comes after conflicting reports in the press during the last two weeks of April over whether the tariff levels for final price agreement had been agreed among the sides or not.

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