THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, ISLAMABAD, 08th OCTOBER 2013:
US energy giant Chevron has emerged as a potential leader in a consortium that will finance and run the transnational Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India (TAPI) pipeline.
According to sources, the four countries linked with the TAPI project are in the process of setting up a consortium and selecting a technically capable and financially sound company as consortium leader, which will design, finance, construct, own and operate the gas pipeline.
Chevron, a renowned oil and gas company with vast experience in the energy sector including gas pipelines, is one of the potential consortium leaders for the project, they say.
Indian and Afghan officials also met a representative of Chevron in Delhi to discuss the company’s potential role in the project as a consortium leader. However, Pakistan could not attend the meeting because of growing tensions with New Delhi over firing incidents on the borders.
Still Pakistan is keen to see Chevron undertake work on the pipeline and sources stress there is a strong possibility that the US energy giant will be selected as consortium leader to finance, design and build the pipeline.
On its part, Chevron has sought exploration rights in Turkmenistan as well as contracts in response to financing and running the project. However, Turkmenistan has offered exploration rights for offshore fields and asked Chevron to swap gas found in these fields for onshore ones and export it to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India under the TAPI project.
The offer comes as Turkmenistan does not allow foreign companies to search for hydrocarbons on onshore fields.
“The Turkmen government invites US and European oil and gas companies to drill offshore wells and the gas extracted may be swapped for gas extracted from onshore wells for export to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India under the TAPI gas pipeline project,” a source familiar with the development told The Express Tribune.
Efforts to construct the TAPI pipeline have been stepped up as the US is pushing Pakistan to press on with the project and shelve the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline due to a standoff with Tehran.
However, the new government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has fended off the pressure and assured Iran that work on the IP pipeline will go on according to schedule.
Under the TAPI project, Pakistan will get 1.365 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan, India will also receive the same 1.365 bcfd and Afghanistan will get 0.5 bcfd.
Turkmenistan will export natural gas through a 1,800km pipeline that will reach India after passing through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan and India have already signed gas sale and purchase agreements and efforts are under way to attract potential investors for financing the project.