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Asian Gas Pipeline Project
September 15, 2002- The Daily DAWN
ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: Pakistan has expressed its inability to sign a gas price agreement with Turkmenistan till such time the Asian Development Bank-sponsored feasibility study on trans-Afghanistan pipeline is completed, Dawn learnt here.

Islamabad is, however, stepping up efforts with the two other partners in the $2.4 billion gas pipeline - Kabul and Ashkabad - to pursue technical, financial and political aspects of the project on a fast track basis.

 

On that front, officials here expect that the ADB would be seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) for the appointment of consultants to carry out the feasibility study of the project.

President Pervez Musharraf had an encouraging response from the US on Saturday when President Bush assured him of US-plans to revive the pipeline project from Central Asia to Pakistan through Afghanistan. The US has special interest in the Caspian region which is host to over $5 billion oil and gas reserves.

The assurance coincided with a trilateral ministerial level working group meeting of Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan being held in Kabul on Monday.

A government official told Dawn on Wednesday that a three-member delegation would leave for Kabul on Monday on a UN-flight and return after 24-hour stay there. The delegation, led by petroleum minister Usman Aminuddin, comprises secretary petroleum M. Abdullah Yousaf and joint secretary Khurshid Anwar.

Under the trilateral Summit-Agreement signed by heads of three nations in February this year, the energy sector ministerial working is meeting regularly on quarterly basis to pursue the $2.4 billion pipeline from Daulatabad to Gwadar. The project cost could go up to $3.2 billion in case the pipeline is extended to energy-hungry India.

"We have asked Ashkabad to put on hold the GSPA (gas sales and purchase agreement) until the technical details of the project are available and that would be possible only when the ADB-sponsored feasibility is ready by next year," a government official told Dawn.


Related Links

Asian ministers support natural gas pipeline project
Development Programme in Pakistan.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan Sign Pipeline Deal

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