India to sign pact for Turkmenistan gas pipeline

The union cabinet today approved the proposal of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to permit GAIL (India) Ltd to sign a gas sale and purchase agreement (GSPA) with TurrnenGas, Turkmenistan's national oil company, for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

The 1,680-km TAPI gas pipeline (covering 144 km in Turkmenistan, 735 km in Afghanistan and 800 km in Pakistan) and a carrying capacity of 90 MMSCMD of gas, will supply 38 MMSCMD each for India and Pakistan and the remaining 14 MMSCMD for Afghanistan.

The pipeline is expected to be operational in 2018 and supply gas over a 30-year period.

Gas will be sourced from the South Yoiotan Osman field, recently renamed Galkynysh, which has been certified by a reputed international consultant to be holding proven recoverable gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic metres.

The provisions of the GSPA have been structured to protect India's commercial interests as India is at the tail end of the pipeline. Afghanistan and Pakistan have committed to the safety and security of the pipeline through the Inter-Governmental Agreement and the Gas Purchase Framework Agreement signed among the four countries in December, 2010.

Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy is scheduled to lead a delegation to Turkmenistan to sign the agreement on 23-24 May.