Gazprom may play role in TAPI pipeline

May 13, 2011 at 7:27 AM
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MOSCOW, May 13 (UPI) -- Moscow could join a pipeline project meant to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan to India, officials said during bilateral talks.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to Moscow to discuss business ties, including electricity and energy development.

A statement from the two governments said Moscow might join the multilateral Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas project, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Moscow expressed interest in the project in October and New Delhi has said Russian energy company Gazprom could serve as one of the suppliers for the project.

The planned 1,043-mile pipeline will deliver 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per year to Pakistan and India. Afghanistan gets the remaining 700 million cf planned for the pipeline.

Backers at the Asian Development Bank said they were optimistic that construction of the pipeline would be finished in time to deliver gas as early as 2016.

Security of the TAPI route through Afghanistan is an impediment, though the Afghan government made several pledges to relieve those concerns.

TAPI is favored by Western powers over Iran's pipeline project because of diplomatic concerns with dealing with Tehran.

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