TAPI pipeline deal set for December

[Look for any pipeline agreement to build north of original route through southern Afghanistan. The Afghan partition plan promoted by India and US diplomat Burns will make such a route feasible in the near future, if real Taliban infiltration into the North can be stopped in its tracks.]

TAPI pipeline deal set for December

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 19 (UPI) — A deal for a multilateral pipeline from Turkmenistan to India will enter into force in December, the deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan said.

The governments of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan are putting the final touches on agreements for a 1,043-mile natural gas pipeline. The pipeline would move natural gas from the Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan, which holds more than 40 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, the deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan, said all four sides have signed a memorandum of understanding on the $7 billion gas pipeline.

“And it will be operationalized by their leaders when they meet in December,” he was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.

He added that building the pipeline through his country would provide jobs for around 20,000 people.

New Delhi says security issues for the portion of the pipeline to cross Afghanistan and Pakistan were concerns for the Indian government.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is a Western-backed rival to an Iranian pipeline from the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. A feasibility study for TAPI was financed by the Asian Development Bank in 2005.

The minister gave his comments during a meeting on Asian cooperation in Geneva, Switzerland.