Ashgabat revisits TAPI gas pipeline

Published: Feb. 15, 2010 at 8:48 AM

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The government in Turkmenistan is interested in moving forward with a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan to India, sources in Ashgabat said.

Government sources in Ashgabat told the Trend news agency that Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was "interested" in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.

The pipeline was revisited during bilateral talks with officials from Ashgabat and New Delhi last week.

The 1,044-mile TAPI pipeline is seen as a rival to a long-delayed natural gas pipeline from the Iranian South Pars gas field. Security of the TAPI route through Afghanistan is an impediment, though in 2008 the Afghan government made several pledges to relieve those concerns.

TAPI is favored by Western powers over the South Pars option because of diplomatic concerns with dealing with Iran.

Ashgabat expanded its gas export options with the inauguration of a 1,138-mile pipeline to China in December. A pipeline to transmit more than 200 billion cubic feet of gas from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan to eastern Iran each year was launched in January.

Dauletabad is the largest gas field in Turkmenistan with an estimated reserve capacity of more than 40 trillion cubic feet of gas.

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