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TAPI Project: A handful scheme to overcome gas shorates

Published on 18th Jan, Edition 3, 2016


Gas is not being consumed through the transport sector alone. It has been piped to households since the 1980s subject to heavy transit loss. It is even utilized to create electricity because Pakistan has steadily moved from river water to gas together with other oil-based fuels. It is utilized for industry, also particularly in the crucial fertilizer sector. Due to the imbalance of consumption in the non-industrial sector, gas has not gone into energy production for the industrial sector, reasoning energy outages that have cut into Pakistan’s capacity to create exportable products/commodities.

There is rising unemployment in the industrial sector in result with proportionate rise in crime and breakdown in law and order situation. The country’s own fiscal cliff is owed to the untenability of the power sector.

The country is the greatest consumer of natural gas in South Asia. Its gas reserves are depleting fast due to the disreputably inefficient pipeline system subject to theft in third World situations. Approximately 40 percent of gas being utilized in households and at gas pumps is subject to this loss, which puts additional pressure on gas rates for consumers.

Interference in price-fixing through the Supreme Court has reasoned the latest shortages of closure and non-supply. The CNG pump sector is conscious of its leverage after it has replaced a large percentage of oil import; and its total closure would mean further import of oil for which the country may not have the needed dollar reserves.

Depletion of indigenous reserves of natural gas has plummeted. By the mid 1980s, the energy sector was converted to the wide supply of this gas. It displaced other fuel sources to emerge as the dominant source in the power mix. By 2009, its share in the power supplied reached at 48.03 percent and was accounting for 34.3 percent of the energy produced. By 2007, the per capita gas consumption had ranked ahead of all South Asian states.

Furthermore, according to the International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles, as of December 2008, the country has the world’s largest number of automobiles running on CNG. Since 2008, the country has been turning its face away from the impending collapse of its power sector.

Experts also have revealed that during July 2014 to February 2015, the 2.0 gas utility firms (SNGPL and SSGCL) have laid 72 km gas transmission network, 1,040 km distribution and 758 km services lines and linked 59 villages/towns to gas network. Thus 206,473 further gas connections including 206,127 local, 249 commercial and 97 industrial were provided in the whole country.

They even have expected that gas would be supplied to nearly 419,445 fresh clients during FY2016. The country’s natural gas production has been stagnant at 4,000 mmcfd (million cubic feet per day). Thus there exists constrained demand for natural gas of 6,000 mmcfd against a supply of 4,000 mmcfd while the unconstrained demand for gas is predicted to be 8,000 mmcfd or extra than double the present local production.

One risk associated with this sector is that there is continuous depletion of existing natural gas fields while the pace of fresh gas discoveries is little slow.


Interestingly the Government of Pakistan is taking serious initiatives to overcome the shortage of natural gas in the country and in this regard recently signed TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline) would be a major outcome to overcome this problem. TAPI, also known as trans-Afghanistan pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed through the Asian Development Bank.
The pipeline would transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan by Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on December 13, 2015. TAPI is predicted to be operational by 2019. TAPI gas pipeline project, if successfully executed, would prove to be a game-changer for the overall region.

The $10 billion pipeline project would produce substantial employment opportunities, mainly in states that are the key stakeholders in this joint venture. According to the experts, roughly 3.3 billion cubic feet gas will be pumped by the pipeline.

The country’s share is predicted to be 1.3 billion cubic feet. The same amount will perhaps be taken through India. Whether TAPI project initiatives up to the predictions of all stakeholders or not is something that is difficult to foretell at this point in time. However, a matter that is of immense concern and that could potentially retard the development of the pipeline is the prevalent unsteadiness in Afghanistan. If this problem is not dealt with on a war footing and resolved expeditiously, it could have a key impact on the completion of the pipeline and make its fruition a distant dream.

In view of the foregoing, it will not be inappropriate to conclude that the main to the successful execution of pipeline project lies not only in peace and stability in Afghanistan but also on cordial and peaceful relations between Pakistan and India.

TAPI is not just a gas transit measure connecting energy-rich Central Asia with power starved South Asia but a trailblazing project; it will also open up door to regional economic integration and development. The flagship pipeline will usher in a fresh era of transformation of the lives of millions of citizens making the TAPI a symbol of shared prosperity and socio-economic progress.

The pipeline was of great importance for Pakistan’s energy viewpoint, besides being a vital component of his government’s attempts to mitigate the country’s power shortages by import of natural electricity and gas. It would advantage almost 1.5 billion citizens in the region and the blue fuel known in the Turkmen’s local dialect would continue flowing by 33 billion cusec meters per annum.

The 1,814-kilometre pipeline would run from gas fields in Turkmenistan by Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. It starts from the Galkynysh gas field. In Afghanistan, TAPI pipeline project would be constructed alongside the Kandahar-Herat Highway in western Afghanistan, and then via Quetta and Multan, Pakistan. The final destination of the project would be the Indian town of Fazilka, near the border between India and Pakistan.

The much delayed TAPI gas pipeline project was formally inaugurated on December 13 last year while its ground breaking ceremony was held in Mary in the southeastern part of Turkmenistan. The ceremony was attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari. TurkmenGaz will be the leader of the consortium and shall take 85 percent equity. Along with GAIL India, ISGS of Pakistan and Afghan Gas Enterprise (AGE) will also take 5 percent stake each.


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