Despite its keen interest to join the four-nation Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, Bangladesh is yet to get any technical details of the region’s mega energy scheme.
The four-nation TAPI is a US$7.6 billion gas pipeline project proposed to be built from Turkmenistan to India via Pakistan and Afghnistan. The pipeline will supply 90 million cubic metre gas per day (mmcfd) from Turkmenistan to participating nations in the project.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a promoter and guarantor of the project.
Following a proposal from the ADB last year, Bangladesh responded positively to join the project and asked the lending agency to send technical details. “But we’re yet to receive a reply from the ADB. The letter was sent through Economic Relations Division (ERD),” said a deputy secretary of the Energy Ministry.
However, Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury at a function on last Friday (Apr 12) said that Bangladesh has been pursuing all the possible options to increase its primary fuel sources. Joining the TAPI project is also being considered.
Bangladesh is now running a shortage of 500 million cubic feet gas per day (mmcfd)
Dr Tawfiq, however, did not give any details as to how Bangladesh is pursuing the TAPI project.
The mega pipeline project recently came to the forefront of the discussion after the start of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. The USA has been opposing the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project and supporting the TAPI project.
Energy Ministry officials said they have sent the letter to ADB in order to learn about the technical details of the project so that they could asses its viability for Bangladesh. Because, they said, the proposed pipeline is a distant one for Bangladesh.
“It’s about 2000-2500 km away from Bangladesh where the pipeline will reach the Indian border town of Fazilka in Punjab state. If we want to join the project, we’ve to think about the cost of long-distance pipeline project,” said the Energy Ministry official.
“That’s why, we wanted to know about the technical details of the project,” he added.
Under the present proposal, the TAPI’s length will be total 1,680 km — 144 km in Turkmenistan, 735 km in Afghanistan and 800 km in Pakistan — to bring the pipeline to the Indian border. The pipeline’s length will increase if the project is extended to Bangladesh.
Of the 90 mmcmd (million cubic metre per day) of gas pumped through the pipeline, India and Pakistan will get 38 mmcmd each, and Afghanistan 14 mmcmd.
Turkmenistan’s largest gas field Galkynysh, having a reserve of 16 trillion cubic metre, will supply the gas through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan, Quetta and Multan in Pakistan to Indian border town of Fazilka.
Indian company GAIL will import Turkmenistan gas for India, once the pipeline becomes operational in 2018. The gas will be supplied for a 30-year period.
In October last year during the Petrotech 2012 Conference in New Delhi, Turkmenistan’s acting Minister of Oil & Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Kakageldy Abdullaev had told reporters that there was a request from Bangladesh to join the project. He had said it requires official note for this, which will be considered by all the four governments of TAPI project.
International oil company Shell is also interested in the project, and Bangladesh is seeking to join TAPI as a buyer. Also, South Korea’s state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) has voiced interest in the TAPI project.