Transit fee for gas must be kept minimum: Jithin Prasada

India on Monday signed two important agreements for the ambitious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. The project, assisted by Asian Development Bank, envisages the building of 1,680 km of pipeline with a total gas capacity of 90 million cubic metres per day (mmscmd). With the completion of the TAPI gas pipeline, India would get 38 mmscmd of gas.

The agreements were signed at the steering committee meeting (SCM) of the TAPI gas pipeline project, held at Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat and attended by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada, Turkmenistan's Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov, Turkmenistan's Minister of Oil and Gas B. Nedirov, Afghanistan's Minister of Mining Industry Wahidullah Shahrani, and Pakistan's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Naveed Qamar.

India, which joined this project in April 2008, signed two important documents — one initialising the gas pipeline framework agreement (GPFA), the other being the Heads of Agreement for the proposed gas sales purchase agreement (GSPA) — along with three other partner countries.

While outlining the significance of this project in fulfilling the energy needs of India, Mr. Prasada said the Cabinet has already given in-principle approval to the GPFA, however the final signing would be done only after the Cabinet approved this document.

“To make this project successful, all stakeholders should recognise that the transit fee for the gas through various countries must be kept at a minimum. Similarly, security issues must be properly addressed and there should be complete clarity on the institutional mechanisms for this,” he said.

Mr. Prasada added that before taking this project further, the pricing and other GSPA issues should be resolved to the full satisfaction of all partner countries. The length of pipeline from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan up to the Indian border is 145 km, 735 km and 800 km respectively.