President of Turkmenistan Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (2nd R), Prime Minister of PakistanShahid Khaqan Abbasi attend the inauguration ceremony of TAPI pipeline construction work, in Herat, Afghanistan, Feb. 23, 2018.
Turkmenistan sits on the world's fourth-largest gas reserves but lost a major buyer in Russia after Russian energy giant Gazprom wound down imports of Turkmen gas and then ceased purchases completely in 2016.
Officials say India and Pakistan would buy around 14 billion cubic meters each, while the remaining five billion would go to Afghanistan. It would provide Afghanistan with 0.5-1.5 bcm per year over the next 30 years, while India and Pakistan will each receive 14-16 bcm per annum.
The first leg of the ceremony to held in Serhetabat, Turkmenistan will be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Malikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
"Let us make TAPI into a People's Pipeline, reaffirming our resolve of development seeded by a principle: that people are more important than governments; that the poor are more important than elites; and power is potent only when it becomes an agent of service to the masses", Akbar remarked at the ground-breaking ceremony of the TAPI gas pipeline project in Turkmenistan's Serhetabad.
"Today, given the energy requirements in India, there are several gas pipeline proposals before us".
Afghanistan is expected to earn $500 million United States dollars in transit duties annually from the project. This is because flow of more gas to Pakistan and India would mean sustainability of energy for their economic development while it would contribute a lot in generating economic activity in the war-torn Afghanistan. Major portion of the pipeline would pass through southwest Afghanistan which is major bastion of Taliban.
The Turkmenistan President, meanwhile, stressed on the need for increasing his country's cooperation with Afghanistan. He mentioned that Turkmenistan-Pakistan relations were based on two pillars namely energy security of which TAPI was a flagship project, and connectivity to include rail, road, information technology and fiber optic.
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