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Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan open talks on gas pipeline

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    Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan open talks on gas pipeline

    Superb news and one that is indicative of Pakistan's growing relations with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan open talks on gas pipeline

    Islamabad, May 27: Oil ministers from Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan began two days of discussions to formulate terms for a trilateral agreement on carrying out pre-feasibility studies for the construction of a trans-regional oil and gas pipeline, an official announcement said in Islamabad today.It said the ministers, Usman Aminuddin from Pakistan, Alam Razm, minister for mines and industry of Afghanistan and Turmenistan oil minister, Gurbannazov Nazarov, are to draw up terms for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be signed by their respective heads of state.

    This was reported few days ago seems like something is going on.
    Pipeline politics intensifies

    By Khaleeq Kiani

    ISLAMABAD, May 19: A high-level delegation of Russian energy firm Gazprom arrives here on May 22 to sign a "protocol" for laying of $3.2 billion trans-Pakistan gas pipeline from Iran to India.

    Diplomatic sources told Dawn that a four-member team of the largest Russian energy firm would hold comprehensive discussions with Pakistani petroleum and foreign ministers and senior officials on political as well as economic and technical aspects of the pipeline during its stay from May 22 to 25 in Pakistan.

    The delegation, led by S.V. Balachov, the advisor to chairman Gazprom board of directors, would comprise senior executives A.S. Shamuzov, V.L. Gulev and v.S. Komarov. The Russian deputy energy minister, who was originally scheduled to lead the Gazprom delegation, would not be coming now, a senior government official confirmed.

    The Russian team would also discuss with petroleum ministry officials various issues relating to Pakistani gas industry and conduct a presentation on "Iran-Pakistan-India" pipeline. The Russian firm has already discussed these issues with Indian authorities around two months back and with Iranian officials last month.

    This intensifies petroleum pipeline politics in the region with a series of hectic diplomatic lobbying from Central to South Asia and Persia involving big powers like the United States and Russia.

    A tripartite summit meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan has already been confirmed for May 29-30 in Islamabad to sign an agreement on a competing trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and possibly onward to India.

    Gazprom that was asked by Indian government to look into the possibility of under-water pipeline from Iran to India in October last has finally concluded that this option was not feasible and faced technical, political and economic risks.

    The protocol to be signed between Gazprom and Pakistan would empower the Russian firm to submit a feasibility report on Iran- Pakistan-India pipeline besides paving way for cooperation between Pakistani firms and Gazprom to take part in rebuilding process of power infrastructure in Afghanistan.

    This is for the first time since 1960's that a Gazprom delegation is coming to Pakistan. In October last, a Gazprom delegation led by its president was not allowed to reach Pakistan from India.

    Iran has also been able to secure support from British Royal/Dutch Shell, British Gas and Malaysian Petronas in the Trans-Pakistan gas pipeline. Gas de France and Petronas are separately taking up long-term development of Iranian gas reserves.

    The project represents a challenge to the US interests because the Iranian Southern Pars gasfield in the Persian Gulf is the site of $2 billion development project with Total of France. Russian Gazprom and Malaysian Petronas, all have anti-US sentiments.

    Pakistan and Iran have already signed a memorandum of understanding in February this year to pursue the onshore pipeline project from South Pars gasfield in Iran to energy-hungry India.

    According to non-papers exchanged between Iran and Pakistan, the 2,672-km gas pipeline would ensure $8 billion to Pakistan as transit fee. Total income to Pakistan through this project was estimated at $14 billion over a period of 30 years, including $8 billion as transit fee, $1 billion as taxes and $5 billion as saving (through reduction in fuel oil substitution).

    Dawn has gathered from various energy firms that a deep-sea pipeline through Arabian sea was not possible at any cost. There are only four off-shore pipelines and that too of 20-inch dia in Europe and North Sea and ranged between 600 and 1,800 meters in depth.

    India needed offshore pipeline of no less than 48 inches in diameters. There are only two ships in the world, in Italy and Holland, capable of laying sea pipelines and their capacity is only for laying 20-inch diameter pipelines.

    If a larger pipeline is to be laid a new ship would have to be built. There is no ship currently in the world market to lay a 48-inch or larger diameter pipelines. And if this pipeline is to be outside of Pakistan's territorial waters, its depth will be up to 4,000 meters and such pipelines have also not been designed so far. The Arabian sea also has enough volcanic characteristics to disturb the deep-sea pipeline.


      Originally posted by Abdali:
      A high-level delegation of Russian energy firm Gazprom arrives here on May 22 to sign a "protocol" for laying of $3.2 billion trans-Pakistan gas pipeline from Iran to India.

      $3.2 billion dollar deal! No wonder Russia is putting diplomatic pressure on India to talk peace instead of war. Russia wants to invest some major money in Pakistan - billions.


        Great news for Pakistan.

        I have a request to Abdali and to some others that post long articles, could you just highlight the paragraphs that you think are important and of usefull information. It would be helpful to those who do not get time to read all it but still want to know the main things. I hope I am not asking for much. Thanks