Turkmenistan’s unwillingness to open its onshore upstream sector to non-Chinese companies will make it impossible to finance the $7.6bn TAPI pipeline, thereby freeing Pakistan to pursue gas import plans from Iran. The TAPI project is aimed at exporting up to 30 bcm/year of Turkmen gas through a 1,735km pipeline to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

In May Turkmengaz, Turkemenistan’s state gas company, signed purchase and sales agreements (PSAs) with Indian and Pakistani companies (MEES, 28 May). This was welcomed by Washington – progress on TAPI would make Pakistan less keen to complete its part of the pipeline to Iran, through which Islamabad plans to import around 8.7 bcm/y at a price of about $11/mn BTU. However, agreements have not been reached for the gas supply, transit fees and pipeline security – TAPI would pass through Taliban-controlled territories in southwestern Afghanistan and Pakistan’s volatile Baluchistan province. (CONTINUED - 270 WORDS)