India gives boost to TAPI pipeline

Feb. 8, 2013 at 6:41 AM

NEW DELHI, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- GAIL (India) Ltd. can join a company tasked with finding a consortium to lead development of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, the Indian government said.

The Indian government gave its consent to the forming of TAPI Ltd., which from Dubai will look for a consortium to lead the development of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-India natural gas pipeline. State-owned GAIL is permitted to join the project, reports Indian newspaper The Hindu.

India and Pakistan are to receive 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year from the project while Afghanistan would get 494 million cubic feet. Project construction is to begin by the end of the year. GAIL will invest $5 million to support pipeline development.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee hosted Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Merdeov last month in New Delhi to discuss TAPI prospects. Mukherjee said India was committed to implementing the pipeline by 2017.

Turkmen officials in early 2012 agreed to sell natural gas to Asian customers through the 1,050-mile pipeline. U.S. officials have expressed their support for the project, seen as a rival to similar plans for a natural gas pipeline backed by the Iranian government.

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