Security top of India's list of TAPI road blocks

Vol 22, PW 15 (16 May 19) Midstream & Downstream

More than 25 years after it was first conceived, a proposed transnational gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India, known as TAPI, is still under active discussion.

But a well-placed oil ministry source tells us security remains as high on India's list of concerns as it was when Delhi formally signed up to the project in 2007. Most striking, however, he says the Narendra Modi government has taken a hard line with a demand that should the pipeline be sabotaged at the delivery point to India, the entire project should be shut down, not just supplies to India.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan must also have a stake in the pipeline's security," he says. "If our supplies are disrupted by a terrorist group not only India should suffer."

India, he adds, is also determined to re-negotiate commercial terms agreed in 2012-13 when the original contract was signed. This, he says, was forcefully communicated to a Turkmen delegation led by Muhammetmyrat Amanov, CEO and chairman of Turkmenistan-based TAPI Pipeline Company (TPCL), who visited Delhi on March 28 for technical discussions with GAIL, India’s representative in TPCL, and the oil ministry.

GAIL made clear that global crude and LNG prices of around $100/barrel and 15/mmbtu in 2012-13, have fallen sharply to around $71/barrel and below $5/mmbtu today. "The price agreed at that time was attractive," we hear.

"But now it must be renegotiated to reflect market realities."