Turkmen, Afghan governments sign gas deal

July 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, July 10 (UPI) -- The government of Turkmenistan said a deal was signed Wednesday with its Afghan counterparts for gas deliveries through a multilateral pipeline.

Turkmen officials in early 2012 agreed to sell natural gas to Asian customers through the 1,050-mile Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India 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.

Delegates from the Asian Development Bank attended a steering committee in Ashbagat to discuss prospects for the pipeline. Delegates from all potential host countries took part in the meeting.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said a gas sales and purchase agreement was signed with the Afghan government for TAPI pipeline deliveries, the region's Trend news agency reports.

The Indian government in February gave its consent to the forming of TAPI Ltd., which from Dubai will look for a consortium to lead TAPI development.

The Pakistani government said this year it would move ahead with a rival project from Iran despite Western concerns. Pakistan is struggling to overcome an energy crisis resulting in lingering blackouts across the country.

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