The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited with participation of the Asian Development Bank.
The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015, work on the Afghan section began in February 2018, and work on the Pakistani section was planned to commence in December 2018. The abbreviation TAPI comes from the first letters of those countries. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.
As of 2022, construction of the pipeline remains stalled.
TAPI pipeline route details
If completed the 1,814-kilometer gas pipeline will pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. The TAPI gas pipeline will transport gas produced from the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
The pipeline will start from Mary region of Turkmenistan and cover a total distance of 214km up to Afghanistan. The Afghanistan section will be built along the highway.
The pipeline will run through Kandhar and Herat highway in Afghanistan, for a length of 774km. It will cover 826km in Pakistan, across the cities of Quetta and Multan, finally terminating in Fazilka at the Indo-Pakistan border in Punjab region, India.
The TAPI project is being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is also acting as transaction adviser for the development.
TAPI pipeline benefits
The pipeline is expected to facilitate a unique level of trade and co-operation across the region, while also supporting peace and security between the four nations.
More than 1.5 billion people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India are expected to benefit from the long-term energy security provided by the project.
In addition, the project is expected to boost the revenues of Turkmenistan via the sale of gas.
Afghanistan and Pakistan will also receive benefits through transit fees.
Political instability and violence in Afghanistan, however, stalled its progress after a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Serhetabad in Turkmenistan in February, 2018.
Importance of TAPI Pipeline
India’s approach to TAPI positions Turkmenistan as a crucial nexus for its connectivity with Central Asia as a whole. Equally, for landlocked Turkmenistan, the much anticipated TAPI pipeline represents an opportunity to find alternative export partners and one that comes with few strings attached.
The TAPI pipeline represents a small but important step away from coal in regions primed for economic growth. Residents of Mumbai, Karachi, Delhi, and Islamabad may get some relief from the respiratory diseases associated with air pollution.
The TAPI pipeline’s significance extends beyond energy security and into the geopolitical. TAPI may contribute to regional stability as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India experience higher degrees of energy security.
India is world’s third largest energy consumer and fourth largest importer of Liquefied natural gas and India’s energy requirement is increasing steadily.
According to BP Energy Outlook 2035, India will account for 9% of world energy consumption, while its share in global production will remain at 5%. In the same period, natural gas demand will increase by 131% and domestic natural gas production will be far from meeting consumption. For this reason, India’s natural gas imports are expected to quadruple by 2040. This emerging and future energy gap explains India’s interest in TAPI and the importance of the project for India.
Moreover, the project has the particular advantage of providing an entry point to Central Asia, enabling future energy deals or similar pipelines to be concluded with this energy-rich region. This is a very important factor for a large economy with a large population like India. In addition, the pipeline could lead to the creation of a trade corridor between the four countries, stretching as far as Kazakhstan.
TAPI Gas Pipeline will transform the politics of this region and help build trust and confidence among ourselves as neighbours and partners in progress.