Friday, April 13, 2012 -
A Pakistani official economic committee said on Friday it approved a draft gas purchase deal with Turkmenistan for supplies through the trans-regional TAPI pipeline.
The move brings the energy-poor South Asian country a step closer to finalizing an agreement over the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline project.
The $7.6 billion four-nation pipeline is expected to transport as much as 33 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) of natural gas from the supergiant Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan to the three recipient countries.
The Economic Coordination Committee endorsed a gas sales purchase agreement (GSPA) that ties gas prices to 70 percent of oil.
The Turkmen and Pakistani governments may sign the GSPA in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat within a week.
Pakistan is currently allotted 15 bcm/y of gas. India is signed up to receive an equal amount, while Afghanistan has agreed to purchase 3 bcm/y.
Committee members were also updated on negotiations over the transit fee Islamabad will have to pay Kabul, the Pakistan News Service reported.
Islamabad has expressed concerns over security of the pipeline through conflict-torn Afghanistan and is mulling an option to import Iranian gas.
Iran has offered to pump natural gas directly to Pakistan and India from its South Pars field in the Persian Gulf, a plan that is adamantly opposed by Washington.
The participants of the meeting instructed the government to assess the risks associated with the Afghan conflict and to determine construction costs.