TAPI Gas Pipeline: A Welcome Relief

TAPI Gas pipelineEnergy war is something we have heard through out the last century and it will be naive to say that this theme will be replaced in this century as well. First it was the great power penetration into Middle East which is still unfolding, while the collapse of USSR opened a new arena in Central Asia. Whether you call it the “Great Game for Central Asian Reserves” or simply the “ Doctrine of Necessity”, every one wants a piece of it.

Recently, we had a sight of relief in Pakistan after a joint agreement was signed between the representatives of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for the commonly known as the TAPI project. The estimated 7.6billion $ project will carry gas from the rich reserves in Turkmenistan to the 3 mentioned countries for their future requirement. The project was on hold for nearly 15 years owing to the strategic situation in the participant countries. Now that the formalities are over and we have all the stake holders on board, its all about the prevailing situation in these countries which will determine its transformation from paper to a reality. It is estimated that in ideal circumstances, the project should get rolling somewhere in 2015, bringing an estimated 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan.

Taking an overview of the situation, it is still very immature to say how practical this project is in term of its completion. The main hindrance will remain the security of the transit route from where this pipeline will pass. Afghanistan remains fragile as it was back in the era of 1990’s and this means that the uninterrupted passage of the energy will depend on the will of the stake holders involved in Afghanistan. On the other hand in Pakistan the situation is less than ideal when it comes to security and for this reason participant countries, especially India can show reluctance in continuation of this project.

There is another factor which is hard to ignore when it comes to India and Pakistan. Taking advantage of other’s adversity is somehow a tradition between these arch rivals and this time around the case cannot be taken as an exception. In past IPI remains the best example where Pakistan was thrown to the wall by India after a long commitment. Undoubtedly this delay has cost Pakistan dearly and the prevailing energy crisis can be blamed on this delay to a large extent. Although ADB has its backing for this project, a situation like IPI cannot be ruled out. In Afghanistan the need is on the rise but it is right now more of a plant which has to pass many stages before it transforms into a full fledged tree. Turkmenistan is a different case which is the supplier and it has every thing to gain when the gas start flowing from this project. In my view it is Pakistan which is most dependent on the outcome of this proposed project. The short fall has destroyed the industrial output in the past few years and the situation is getting worse every passing day. For others it’s the future need but for Pakistan it’s the matter of survival.

Indian needs are growing dramatically in view of its economical boom but New Delhi is working on a multi faced approach when it comes to future energy needs. The biggest edge Indians have is their booming nuclear sector which seems to be their primary concern in order to support their growing demand. Thanks to the blessings from America, France and Russia lately, India is on its way of becoming the biggest nuclear market in the coming years and to say it honestly, they are moving in the right direction of self sufficiency. This means that even if this project goes on hold or even back to the dust bin, its Pakistan which will suffer the most out of it, making the factor of “exploitation” from its neighbor in the limelight.

To conclude, this project can also transform the regional rivalry into a dependent relationship as foreseen by the Idealist/ liberalist school of thought. Their view is more directed toward interdependence as a way forward in order to avoid future confrontation. In terms of precautionary measures, its important that Pakistan must work on the pending projects instead of seeing this project as a “mean to the end”. The project has its glitter but the other side of this project is simply “darkness” as we are witnessing currently in the shape of loadshedding.


6 thoughts on “TAPI Gas Pipeline: A Welcome Relief”

  1. zero progressed we have since the PPP took over, I have no dought in my mind if we would achieved the first step when Myrtar Benazir bhutto and Nawaz shrif jointly was taking over from musharraf govt,then the situation would be defferant then now. unfortunately nation lost the wise leader, that was the big acheivement for the enemy of pakistan,because they dont want to see stable Pakistan.
    Nation made a terrible mistake no one thought about the future of pakistan and every one was trying to support PPP and there chairperson,most peoples and agencies afraid after the situation been accured on Benazir assassin.
    and justified by most people that PPP deserve the win in election and today we are paying price for that mistake.how foolish are we ? we knew that Asif Zardari is not a leader he was husband of myrtar Benazi bhutto and she was history.nation handover there future to brooker groups and today nation is facing worse consicounnce. may be PPP is working for parlimenterian how they can takle with future mashal law to protect their rights to make some amendments desicion other then Mr. president is good a good brooker he fillful his promised with ANP gifted them Khyberpakhtonkhawa,MLN cheifminister punjab,JUI S&T ministery,bulochi as well,MQM
    Accept the PTI never made any deal other was Mr.zardai was AUN DATA to all political parties. because his mission was accompolished. but this time to make no mistake again.

  2. yesterday I watched Geo news by Kamran khan the most politicians is not paying any tax or electec bill.But still these politician industrial among public and fron of media they claiming to save pakistan help bring stability in country. no one what so ever feel sham by there act, accept keep bleming each other or covering there butts,this mean there is no law and order or they are above the law.I am asking every viewer what else we need more about these crock or dakoo??? how long we will be fool our self and others.our politicians are very brave and bold in telling lying,NO SHAMED.
    Please help your self this is time to reject there JALSA JALOOS and there full of lie speeches. Allah will never for give us if we all will participate these criminal groups nor the history, dont afraid join the PTI and vote for imran khan and his part members.

  3. TAPI gas pipeline agreement recently signed among Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is a great move by government and a lucid prove of acumen of our president. Whether things go as per plan or not, it would not be right to view this project negatively. Our energy demand in general and natural gas in particular is growing with each passing day. For a couple of years, we have also had to face gas load shedding in winters since our gas reserves are depleting. Due to the energy crisis, we are in dire need of meeting our demand-supply gap and thus the signing of TAPI is a good step in the direction of building hope for a better future. All we need now is to stand by this commitment.

  4. President Asif Ali Zardari’s use of his office to push for progress on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is a welcome step forward for the stalled project that is likely to result in significant economic gains for Pakistan, both in terms of the royalties the project yields and in terms of the more abundant supply of gas that will eventually become available to industries within the country. The benefits that are expected to flow from the project are manifold, including a stable source of income for the government of Afghanistan and yet another reason for Pakistan and India to expand their economic ties. If the Afghan government has a steady revenue stream, the country may well be able to develop many of the institutions that it badly needs. And an expansion of economic ties between India and Pakistan should create wider constituencies in both countries that support a peaceful resolution to the outstanding political issues between them. Indeed the agreement reached between the governments of the four countries in the Turkmen capital last week is a significant step forward. This Cooperation is likely to yield far greater prosperity for the people of both the neighboring countries, compared to confrontation. For its part, India would do well to take a leap of faith and trust that Pakistan’s economic interests are aligned with theirs.

  5. Well written article i must say, and very informative indeed. I wish Pakistan had given the same importance to nuclear sector like India did in the past decade.

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