Expedite TAPI project


DESPITE claims by the Petroleum Ministry that things were proceeding ahead to complete the vital energy project ofTurkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), there are consistent reports of some lobbies active to delay its execution on different pretexts. Latest reports suggest that attempts are being made to scuttle progress on the project on the plea of providing level-playing field for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Energy crisis is one of the major hurdles impeding economic development of the country and that is why plans were initiated by successive governments to move towards energy security. According to Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), despite the induction of all the import options, including LNG, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipelines, the total supplies would decline to 3.7bcfd by 2028, creating a net shortfall of about 4.6bcfd, more than total supplies at present. The gap was rising because of higher consumption in almost all the major sectors particularly power, domestic, fertilizer, captive power and industry as the supplies were not keeping pace with higher demand. The situation has also been complicated by fast depletion of domestic gas reserves, which forced the Government to review the previous strategy of encouraging conversion of vehicles on gas. Crippling shortages of gas during ongoing winter for almost all categories of consumers including domestic, commercial and industrial also highlights the need to pursue all available options to address the crisis. LNG imports were planned as quickest option to tackle the problem by the then Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi but long-term interests of the country demand that gas pipeline options both from Turkmenistan and Iran must be pursued with same vigour as before. Renegotiation of price of TAPI is justified, if it was on higher side but the project itself should not suffer on this or on any other account. We hope that the Prime Minister himself would look into the issue and ensure that groundbreaking of this important project is not delayed as even after ground breaking of Phase-I it will take about two to three years to complete it which would be followed by Phase-II that envisages installation of compressor stations.