ASHGABAT: Turkmenistan has agreed with Pakistan on the price of gas it plans to send via an ambitious pipeline from its prospective natural gas fields through Afghanistan, two government sources in the Central Asian republic told Reuters on Tuesday.
The Turkmen government sources, requesting anonymity, declined to give details of the price and did not comment on whether volumes had also been agreed.
One of the sources said that the two countries had yet to agree with Afghanistan on a transit price for the gas.
Turkmenistan, which sits on the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, wants to build the trans-Afghan pipeline as part of its plans to diversify sales from Soviet-era master Russia to energy-hungry markets in Asia and Europe.
It aims to supply natural gas from its South Iolotan field, the world’s second-largest, to Pakistan and India. The idea of the pipeline, known as Tapi, was first raised in the mid-1990s, but construction has yet to begin.
The proposed 1,700 kilometres pipeline could carry one trillion cubic metres of Turkmen gas over a 30-year period, Turkmen Oil and Gas Minister Bayramgeldy Nedirov said this month, which would work out at 33 billion cubic metres a year.
But the route, particularly the 735 kilometres Afghan leg, presents significant security challenges and will require Pakistan and India to agree on volumes and price.
Participants must also secure funding for the project.
State-owned newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported on Tuesday that President Kurbanguly Berdymukhameov had signed a joint declaration with Pakistan on the sale and purchase of gas via the Tapi pipeline.
The newspaper reported that Berdymukhamedov, whose word is final in Turkmenistan, had agreed the deal during a visit to Islamabad on Monday, where he met President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Razi Gilani.