Once Again, the US Misses-Out On More Gas Liberated In Spite of the Terror War

[TAPI pipeline is realistically put on hold, since all players seem to be facing-up to the dangers of Afghanistan and American failure to overcome the insurgency.   Everyone seems to be gravitating towards an alternative Chinese solution and away from anything tied to the American position.  If American corporations, in hand with the US Govt., cannot solve the equation of Afghanistan, so that pipeline plans can be realized, then someone else will rise to the task and to the rewards promised to those who harvest Central Asian gas and oil.  From other reports on the international meeting of Asian leaders, comes word that they are all pushing to create the CAREC Corridor 5 project.  This proposed strategic corridor connects China all the way to Pakistan and everything in between.   The route bypasses Turkmenistan, but it is assumed from reports that China expects to more than double the amount of Turkmen gas flowing to China and the following report that China is loaning Turkmenistan billions to develop the possibly defunct TAPI pipeline, that China will get its money's worth of Turkmen gas.  Actually, the Corridor 2 Project connects both Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the Corridor 5 pipelines (SEE: Corridor 2). 

In this case is really is true for American investors that "if you snooze, you lose," or would it be more accurate to say that American failure to achieve its militarist plans in both Afghanistan and in Iraq have cost Western oil majors the Iraqi and Central Asian bonanza that they have lusted so hard over, all of these years?]  

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09/02/2011

Gas pipeline through Afghanistan – Emergency cancellation?

Dmitry Verkhoturov

If the Americans leave southern Afghanistan, the Afghan forces can not guarantee the security of the pipeline. In the picture: After signing a framework agreement on construction of a trans-Afghan pipeline (TAPI).Ashgabat, 2010

Not so long ago been completed negotiations on TAPI gas pipeline that would carry Turkmen gas fields Dovletabad through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. Parties managed to overcome all differences, all the political difficulties, and in May 2011 Afghan parliament approved the construction start scheduled for 2012. Turkmenistan has already begun preparations for the construction, which includes the equipment building industry and the railroad Atamurat – Akin – Andkhoy.

The collapse of the safeguards

In early 2011 the U.S. put forward a plan for further strategy in Afghanistan, which threatens the project a complete failure. A former deputy adviser to U.S. President for National Security Robert Blackville suggested, referring to the high losses and the inability to keep the south of Afghanistan, go to “Plan B”. The plan calls for a sharp reduction in foreign military contingent from 150 thousand to 30-50 thousand people, and challenge him to Kabul and northern Afghanistan. The whole of southern Afghanistan province of Kunar province, Nimroz to left, so the Taliban.

It comes even to the point that Robert Blackville said: “At the same time, Washington must recognize that the” Taliban “sooner or later will acquire control over the Pashtun south and east, and to prevent such an outcome, will pay an unacceptably high price.” In fact, we are talking about recreating the Taliban government in some of his form in the form of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in the form of “Pashtunistan” or else under some other name, with forms of management, which will strongly resemble the device Taliban government in 1999 -2001, respectively.

All agreements on the construction of the TAPI held on Afghan security guarantees and the construction of the pipeline. When these agreements were signed, it was assumed that the Americans will stay in Afghanistan long enough to become stronger Afghan army and managed to take control of security. But if the Americans leave southern Afghanistan, the Afghan forces can not guarantee the security of the pipeline, which passes through the southern provinces. Even if you start building it in 2012, its completion would be in question because about a thousand kilometers of gas pipeline will pass through the territory on which military operations are possible. Delays in construction as a threat to the failure of the project. Thus, the U.S. “Plan B” destroys everything that participating countries have established an agreement on TAPI with great difficulty.

The Chinese word

Contrary to current opinion, China has always stood for talks on TAPI, and the entire project is impossible without China’s participation. Typically, experts believe that China was not profitable direction of Turkmen gas to the southern route, since China imports of Turkmen gas via a pipeline Turkmenistan – China, entered service in late 2009 and has plans to expand its capacity.

However, this is only part of the picture. If we take into account the fact that Pakistan has become an important ally of China, and to take into account the activity of the Chinese investment in countries of the region (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan), it becomes obvious that the construction of the TAPI very much in the interests of Beijing . Firstly, the fuel and economic development opportunities for Pakistan – an important ally. Second, these are the conditions for large-scale investment in the whole sector of countries, particularly in Pamir region. TAPI implementation makes this region so far very little affected by economic development, a major area for investment and a source of valuable raw materials for Chinese industry. Do not forget that the Pamir and Hindu Kush are numerous mineral deposits, including rare metals and uranium. In addition, the gas required and Chinese companies in the mining of minerals such as copper deposit Aynak. A major gas pipeline allows you to build copper plant and take out no ore concentrate and blister copper suitable for electrolytic refining.

December 12, 2010 signed a framework agreement on TAPI gas pipeline construction, and only April 27, 2011 the Bank of China has provided “Turkmengaz” a large loan of $ 4.1 billion for 10 years under the terms of repayment of gas supplies. It is clear that such a large loan provides for a major investment in a large construction site, and at that time there was only one project of this magnitude – TAPI.

American “Plan B” shuffled the cards and broke all the calculations. However, China is still a loser will not. August 27, 2011 China National Petroleum Corp. – Chinese oil company, said that before 2015 there are plans to double the power of the Turkmenistan – China, and to increase the volume of gas imports to 55-60 billion cubic meters. meters per year. Currently imports account for August this year, 13.6 billion cubic meters. meters, to 2012, should reach 30 billion cubic meters. meters. The increase in the plan in 2015 to 60 billion cubic meters. meters – it’s just turning the volume of gas that had to go to the TAPI gas pipeline Turkmenistan – China. Already granted to credit “Turkmengaz” just build a pipeline in a different direction.

Well, the Chinese policy has always led a leisurely policies and preferred not to risk it.Obviously, after analyzing the situation in Afghanistan, they decided to postpone the TAPI to better times and not keep it up until the situation changes and stabilizes. China has nothing to lose, and can provide 4-5 billion dollars in construction and in 2015, and in 2020 and later.

Implications for Afghanistan

Such a solution, of course, greatly complicates the situation in Afghanistan. First, it is a significant deceleration of economic development, which determines in particular the construction of the armed forces and security. Second, the Afghan government is deprived of important arguments in the process of national reconciliation. Prior to that, it could promise the militants, and even major commanders, the broad perspective associated with the pipeline. Judging by the statement of support for Gulbuddin Hekmatyar construction with preliminary agreement had been. As now the situation, and whether the actual agreement on – debatable.

All this means that opportunities to persuade fighters to disarm some prospects for a peaceful life and legal income for the Afghan government have fallen significantly, and now, willy-nilly have to balk at the increased military pressure on the Taliban and try to inflict the greatest possible damage to Taliban squads.

Americans are ill-considered words and his speeches, of course, have already caused great damage to Afghanistan’s security, disrupted long-term agreement that would guarantee an end to the war years 2014-2015. Now everything is delayed. That’s how important it is to some experts to Washington to think through their proposals before, and only then to express them out loud.

However, do not lose heart. Palliative Turkmen gas can be Turkmen electricity, and railroad Atamurat – Akin – Andkhoy good in itself, and outside gas pipeline project. Temporarily, until the TAPI build fails, it is necessary to advance the project of development of the Afghan-Turkmen cooperation and industrial development in the border with Turkmenistan provinces. This is one of the most peaceful areas of Afghanistan, and projects it may be of interest to investors from different countries.

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