Friday, August 17, 2012 -
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake lent his support on Thursday to the TAPI pipeline project as he travels in Central Asian states for annual bilateral consultations (ABCs).
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), a pipeline proposal resuscitated over the last two years by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, signed a series of accords in recent months to bring the proposal closer to realization.
“Turkmenistan has sufficient gas to fuel this pipeline,” the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported Blake as saying.
“There is now a real market in India and they can afford to pay for the gas.”
India and Pakistan are both facing severe energy shortages and are looking for additional sources of revenue, even considering a pipeline from Iran which would defy U.S.-initiated sanctions against the rogue regime.
Afghanistan was initially expected to also be a recipient of Turkmen gas, but changed its stance and now only wants to be a transit participant.
However, there are “a lot of risks to participating in such a pipeline,” Blake acknowledged.
Participant states are concerned about potential Taliban attacks on Afghanistan’s section of the pipeline.
Blake said a ‘road show’ would be held in the U.S. to encourage private investment in the pipeline project.