:Trans-Afghan Pipe Meet Ends in Turkmenistan, Implementation Stage in Sight
Date: Wednesday, February 15 @ 13:40:55 PST
Ashgabat, 16 February 2006 (nCa) --- Ninth meeting of the steering committee of Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP) project concluded Wednesday in Ashgabat. President Niyazov assured the heads of delegations from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and ADB that Turkmenistan remains firmly committed to TAP. The pipe planners took some important decisions, indicating that the implementation stage may not be far off if the tempo gained in the present meeting can be maintained by all sides.
Here are the important steps taken during the meeting:
* A protocol was signed with consensus. The protocol would be attached to the initial agreement signed between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2002 for construction of gas and oil pipelines. If will be in force for 3 years.
* A working group has been formed to deal with technical and legal issues. The working group would meet every alternate month and more often if required. First meeting of the working group would take place in March 2006 in Ashgabat.
* Preliminary understanding has been reached on gas volumes. The sides agreed to start working out the details of future contracts.
* India’s participation in the project was formally confirmed.
* Turkmenistan provided gas audit certification documents for Daulatabat gas field. The audit was carried out by De Golyer & MacNaughton.
* ADB presented project structures and investment scenario that would be offered to potential financiers and investors.
* Afghanistan outlined security measures for the pipeline.
* Next meeting of the steering committee would be held in April 2006 in Islamabad.
Amanullah Jadoon, minister for petroleum and natural resources of Pakistan, Mir Mohammad Sediq, minister for mines and industries of Afghanistan, Dinsha Patel, Indian state minister for oil and gas, and Dan Millison
of Asian Development Bank had a meeting Wednesday morning with President Niyazov.
President Niyazov assured the delegates that Turkmenistan was ready to share its energy resources for strengthening of peace and stability in the region and promotion of common objectives.
He expressed satisfaction on the fact that India had agreed to joint he project.
The delegation heads told Niyazov that the visit to the infrastructure facilities at Daulatabat field had strengthened their belief in the viability of the project.
All sides agreed that TAP would bring harmony and prosperity to the region.
After their meeting with President Niyazov, the delegation heads spoke to Turkmen TV.
Here is the transcript of their remarks:Amanullah Khan Djadoon
, minister for petroleum and natural resources, Pakistan
We discussed different issues, international, bilateral, and the particular emphasis was on the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan to India.
It was very detailed and very comprehensive discussion and we have with us among the delegates Mr. Willison who represents Asian Development Bank and we got some very good and positive points from the president.
We are very hopeful that this project is going to come through very soon.Mir Mokhamad Sediq
, minister for mines and industries, Afghanistan
We have just received His Excellency’s confirmation and support for the project.
We have also received confirmation from the president and prime minister of India, and presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Personally I am very happy that the president [Niyazov] has lot of information about this particular project that shows his interest in the programme.
So, we have requested the president that as he has put all the pressure and support for development in Ashgabat, likewise to support this programme. And he has supported our request. If you compare Ashgabat with a couple of years ago, the development is fantastic; it looks like a new country.Dinsha Patel
, Minister of state for oil and gas, India
(Speaking in Hindi) There have been very good talks about the pipeline for the past couple of days. Today we talked to president [Niyazov] also and he gave very positive comments.
Ministers of Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan were also together [with us] and they have also contributed positive remarks.
India is of the opinion that the gas demand in India for development, industry and domestic consumers . .. this pipeline would bring lots of benefits to India also, and would benefit Pakistan and Afghanistan also. And, it would also be helpful for development of Turkmenistan.
India considers that the [TAP] pipeline project should start as soon as possible and technical problems should be solved quickly and investment questions should also be resolved swiftly. We should think [of the ways] how we can do all this as quickly as possible.
I am very happy with the positive attitude of the president [Niyazov] and I congratulate him.
, Asian Development BankThis is a fairly complicated . . . complex project. Outside of Western Europe I don’t know of any other gas pipeline that involves three or four countries. This is a complex project and projects of this nature take a long time to develop. The project of this nature requires strong political support from the member countries as well as from host countries of investors that would actually provide massive financing. If we can structure a project that is commercially attractive and find viable and credible investors the ADB would provide whatever support is necessary to arrange the financing.We have had very frank and open discussion during our meetings and I am optimistic that we will make progress and we are looking forward to have a good deal, good commercial prospects, and we are confident that we can find some credible investors and ADB will continue to support the project.
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