MOSCOW: Islamabad and Moscow have agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries by boosting cooperation in oil and gas exploration and other transnational energy projects, including CASA-1000 and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.
During the third session of Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Energy, the Pakistani delegation – led by Ambassador to Russia Zaheer A Janjua – also held meetings with major Russian energy firms, said a press release.
Both countries expressed willingness to work together for construction of floating LNG terminals, gas pipeline from Gwadar to Nawabshah, LPG processing facility, gas purification plants, modernisation of infrastructure, innovative technology solutions in coal industry, and building and renovation of various power generating units in Pakistan, especially those of Russian origin.
Major Russian companies in the energy sector, including Technopromexport, Rostec-Global Resources, Rushydro International, Power Machines, Inter RAO, United Engine Corporation, and Stochinsky Institute of Mining participated in the discussions with the Pakistani delegation.
Pakistan wants to “transform the current cordial political relations with Russia into a long-term and substantive economic partnership, especially in the field of energy, for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), a group comprising four countries, is proposing to develop a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan. TAPI will select a company to spearhead the ambitious project early next year.
Turkmenistan, which holds the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, has long sought to diversify its exports of the fuel away from former imperial master Russia.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Central Asian nation has been keen to develop the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project.
A decision has been taken to choose potential partners and a leader for the TAPI project before early February 2015.
A steering committee will set a tender date to select the leader for the TAPI consortium, the report said, but provided no further details.
Last week, Turkmenistan’s state gas firm Turkmengas, Afghan Gas Enterprise, Pakistan’s Inter State Gas Systems and Indian state-run utility GAIL set up a company to build, own and operate the TAPI pipeline.
An international energy major selected at the tender will take a significant stake in the consortium and will sign a contract for at least 20 years with the four-nation group, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Khodjamukhamedov told an energy conference in Ashgabat this week.
“This company will be tasked with attracting investment to the project,” he said.
Turkmenistan’s government estimates the cost of TAPI at about $10 billion. The United States has repeatedly expressed its support for the proposed 1,735-km (1,084-mile) pipeline which would carry annually up to 33 billion cubic metres of gas for 30 years.