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09.01.04á15:45
WILL TRANS AFGHAN PIPELINE UNITE SOUTH ASIA?
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK WILL RENDER FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF UNDERGROUND GAS RESERVOIRS

The Asian Development Bank will render financial support to Pakistan for the construction of underground gas reservoirs (UGR) in the framework of a $3 mln worth gas pipeline construction project running from Turkmenistan through the territory of Afghanistan, Bloomberg reports from Singapore.

As Najeeb Jung, the project consultant of the ADB's office in Manila said, the Bank had already approved the allocation of $500,000 to provide Pakistan with logistical support in constructing the UGR that will help the country to "smooth down a gas consumption peak in winter".

The UGR, capable of storing gas for 15 days, will be also used for ensuring uninterrupted gas supplies through a 1460 km gas pipeline from the world 4th largest Turkmen gas deposit, Dauletabad, Najeeb Jung said.

"The establishment of a network of reservoirs in Pakistan will help Indian companies to enhance security of gas supplies through this pipeline and by this to strengthen the project's viability", he said.

Turkmenistan will supply gas through the pipeline to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, while the transit countries will receive transit fees.

The improvement in relations between the two South Asian states will help India, which is the third largest in Asia energy consumer, to participate in the project. Tensions in relations between the two neighbors, both possessing nuclear weapons that fought three wars since 1947, delayed the project's implementation for over 6 years, the agency reports.

The capacity of the UGR in India can rise fivefold by 2012 to 218 mln bcm of gas per day not considering domestic and foreign suppliers, GAIL, the largest Indian gas distribution company, claims. The pipeline is capable of supplying additional 82 mln bcm of gas per day.

As was earlier reported, the steering committee at the level of energy ministers of the respective states was established in May of 2001 after signing an agreement on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline construction in Islamabad. The ADB entered the steering committee later on. It acted as sponsor of the feasibility study of the project, having provided $1,5 mln for that purpose, and then got down to its implementation.

It is planned that the 1460 km long gas pipeline will be laid from Dauletabad gas field (Turkmenistan) through Afghanistan to Multan (Pakistan). The throughput of the pipeline will be 30 bcm per year.

"INTERFAX-Bloomberg", 08.01.04

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