Giving a big push to the trans-border Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the Union Cabinet on Thursday authorised GAIL India to invest $5 million in the venture set up to implement the project. Originally conceived in 2006, the new target to start constructing the pipeline is now by this year-end.
According to the plan, 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year of natural gas would be flowing from the pipeline from 2016. India and Pakistan will get 14 bcm each and Afghanistan 5 bcm.
India is aggressively pursuing the matter since the other trans-border pipeline – Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) project – has been put in cold storage due to Iran’s strained relations with the US. It will also help reduce heavy reliance on the imported oil.
Last September, the four countries agreed to Turkmenistan’s proposal to set up a company with a shared capital of $20 million as a ‘special purpose vehicle’ to take up the feasibility study and design work, and search for a consortium to meet the agreed timelines. Last May, GAIL and Pakistan’s Inter-State Gas System Private have already signed a gas sales and purchase agreement with Turkmengaz, the state company of Turkmenistan, for supply of gas from its Dauletabad field.
Railway projects: Meanwhile, the Cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved railway line expansion projects worth Rs2,500 crore, including doubling of the Palanpur-Samakhiali section of 247.73 kms under the Western Railway at a cost of Rs1,266.89 crore, new broad gauge line between Raigarh (Mand Colliery) to Bhupdeopur railway station. The construction of a new broad gauge line between Gevra Road and Pendra Road also got the nod.