Pakistan has witnessed worst energy shortage of its history and realization of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which is to send Turkmen gas to Pakistan, will help solve this problem, says Malik Ayub Sumbal, Pakistani policy analyst and editor-in-chief of Eurasia Media Network.
"Pakistan has been facing worst kind of energy shortage and the majority of the industry has been shut down due to the increasing energy deficiency in the country for the last several years," Sumbal told Trend on Dec. 13.
He noted that the majority of the textile industry enterprises in Pakistan closed down due the gas shortage, because when there is no gas it is not possible to run textile industry and half a million people lost their workplaces in this sphere as a result.
"So, if the projects like TAPI come, of course it will change the industry scenario and a revival in this ruined industry could be seen," Sumbal said.
The expert noted that gas supply system is not diversified in Pakistan and currently there are only local gas supply sources and "a controversial LPG deal with Qatar."
Sumbal noted that gas demand is forecast to increase in Pakistan, but the government has no specific plan to meet this demand so far.
He reminded that there was Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, but Pakistan did not construct its section of the line, so the deal on Iranian gas supply to Pakistan is in limbo. Moreover, the expert noted that according to the bilateral agreement, if Islamabad does not complete its part of the project, it would have to pay a daily penalty of $1 million to Iran until its completion.
"I can see this matter is going to an international court of arbitration," Sumbal said.
TAPI should be completed as soon as possible, the expert said, adding "it is a project which will change the fate of all the partners."
Meanwhile, Sumbal noted that Afghanistan’s security is a major challenge and hurdle and now the tense situation between Afghanistan and Pakistan affects the project.
"India has a strong hand in Afghanistan, so I accuse India in the delay of this project, because India does not favor Pakistan’s solving its energy problem. But TAPI is possible if all the stakeholders in the project have a mutual stance on it," he said.
TAPI will make it possible to deliver gas from Turkmenistan, which ranks fourth in the world for its gas reserves, to large and promising markets of South and Southeast Asia. The pipeline will run from Galkynysh - the largest gas field in Turkmenistan - through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border.
Annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 billion cubic meters. Total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 kilometers. Some 214 kilometers will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 kilometers - in Afghanistan, and 826 kilometers – in Pakistan.
The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion. The Turkmen government said earlier that the state concern Turkmengas would be the main investor for the TAPI project.
Turkmenistan started construction of its section of TAPI in December 2015 and it is expected it will take three years. Time frame of the Afghan and Pakistani sections construction of the TAPI pipeline has not been determined yet..
World media monitoring