Talks for putting together the TAPI “peace pipeline” remained deadlocked on Thursday as representatives of the four nations — Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India — could not reach an agreement on the issues of gas price and transit fee.
Although the terms of the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) were agreed at the Ministerial meeting of the TAPI countries here, the issues of the price of fuel and the transit fee remained unresolved. All four nations decided to meet next month for further negotiations.
Both India and Pakistan did not agree to the price of gas proposed by Turkmenistan. There was also a disagreement on the transit fee that India has to pay to Pakistan and Afghanistan to allow passage of gas.
The next meeting will be held in Kabul on May 13-14.
It was decided that after ascertaining the transit fee and transportation charge for wheeling gas through the pipeline, the four countries would meet in Turkmenistan to discuss the gas price. The gas purchase framework agreement has been amended by the Ministers to extend the deadline for signing of the GSPA to July 31 from April-end which was decided earlier.
During Thursday's meeting, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Jaipal Reddy raised the issue of safe delivery of gas through the proposed line.
“There are issues that need to be addressed. We have to come to a decision regarding the price of gas, security of the pipeline, certainty of gas supply, transit fee, and setting up of the consortium,” he said.
“As a buyer and being at the tail-end of the project, India has concerns relating to safety of the pipeline and safe transit of gas through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Quite obviously, our goal is not merely the construction of the pipeline but also continuous and uninterrupted flow of Turkmen natural gas over several decades,” Mr. Reddy said.
“This project would be an enduring example of regional cooperation, bringing together Central Asia and South Asia in a long partnership for mutual benefit and advancement. The TAPI project is going to be the Silk Route of the 21st century,” he added.