Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline

The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited[1][2] with participation of the Asian Development Bank.[3] The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.[4] Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015,[3] while construction of the Afghanistan-Pakistan section of the pipeline was held in February 2018.[5] Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.[6][7]

Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Gas Pipeline (TAPI)
Map of Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Gas Pipeline (TAPI)
Country Turkmenistan
General directionNorth–South
FromGalkynysh gas field, Turkmenistan
Passes throughHerat
ToFazilka, India
Runs alongsideKandahar–Herat Highway
General information
TypeNatural gas
Construction started2015
Technical information
Length1,814 km (1,127 mi)
Maximum discharge33 billion cubic metres per annum (1.2 trillion cubic feet per annum)

As of 2023, construction of the pipeline remains stalled.[8]


Summit in Ashgabat for the signing of agreement regarding the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Pipeline project on 11 December 2010.
Ceremony on completion of the Turkmen section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline.

The roots of this project lie in the involvement of international oil companies in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan beginning of 1990s. As Russia, who controlled all export pipelines of these countries, consistently refused to allow the use of its pipeline network, these companies needed an independent export route avoiding both Iran and Russia.[9][10]

The original project started on 15 March 1995 when an inaugural memorandum of understanding between the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan for a pipeline project was signed. This project was promoted by Argentinian company Bridas Corporation. The U.S. company Unocal, in conjunction with the Saudi oil company Delta, promoted an alternative project without Bridas' involvement. On 21 October 1995, these two companies signed a separate agreement with Turkmenistan's president Saparmurat Niyazov. In August 1996, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium for construction of a pipeline, led by Unocal, was formed. On 27 October 1997, CentGas was incorporated in formal signing ceremonies in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, by several international oil companies along with the Government of Turkmenistan.[11]

Since the pipeline was to pass through Afghanistan, it was necessary to work with the Taliban. The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Oakley, left his post and was hired by CentGas in 1997. In January 1998, the Taliban, selecting CentGas over Argentinian competitor Bridas Corporation, signed an agreement that allowed the proposed project to proceed. In June 1998, Russian Gazprom relinquished its 10% stake in the project. On 7 August 1998, American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. The United States alleged that Osama bin Laden was behind those attacks, and all pipeline negotiations halted, as the Taliban's then leader, Mullah Omar, announced that bin Laden had the Taliban's support. Unocal withdrew from the consortium on 8 December 1998, and soon after closed its offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[12]

The new deal on the pipeline was signed on 27 December 2002 by the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[13] In 2005, the Asian Development Bank submitted the final version of a feasibility study designed by British company Penspen. The project has drawn strong US support as it would allow the Central Asian republics to export energy to Western markets "without relying on Russian routes". Then-US Ambassador to Turkmenistan Tracey Ann Jacobson noted, "We are seriously looking at the project, and it is quite possible that American companies will join it".[14] Due to increasing instability, the project has essentially stalled; construction of the Turkmen part was supposed to start in 2006, but the overall feasibility is questionable since the southern part of the Afghan section runs through territory which continues to be under de facto Taliban control.[14]

On 24 April 2008, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan.[15] The intergovernmental agreement on the pipeline was signed on 11 December 2010 in Ashgabat.[16] However, in April 2012, India and Afghanistan have failed to agree on transit fee for gas passing through Afghan territory. Consequently, Islamabad and New Delhi too could not agree on the transit fee for the segment of the pipeline passing through Pakistan, which has linked its fee structure to any India-Afghanistan agreement.[17] On 16 May 2012, the Afghan Parliament, approved the agreement on a gas pipeline and the day after, the Indian Cabinet allowed state-run gas-firm GAIL to sign the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Türkmengaz, Turkmenistan's national oil company.[18]

Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015[3] and was completed by mid-2019.[19] Construction on the Afghan side started on 24 February 2018.[19] The Taliban have vowed to cooperate and not disrupt the project in areas they control.[20][21]

Technical features


The pipeline will be 1,420 mm (56 in) in diameter with a working pressure of 100 atm (10,000 kPa).[22] The capacity will be 33×10^9 m3 (1.2×10^12 cu ft) of natural gas per year of which 5×10^9 m3 (180×10^9 cu ft) will be provided to Afghanistan and 14×10^9 m3 (490×10^9 cu ft) to each Pakistan and India.[23] Six compressor stations would be constructed along the pipeline.[22] The pipeline was intended to be operational by 2019.[3]

Originally, the cost of the pipeline project was reportedly estimated at US$7.6 billion, but a more recent estimate was $10 billion.[24] The leading partner of the project is Türkmengaz.[3]



The 1,814 km (1,127 mi) pipeline will run from the world's second largest gas field namely Galkynysh gas fields in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India.[3] In Afghanistan, TAPI pipeline will be constructed alongside the Kandahar–Herat Highway in western Afghanistan, and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan.[25] The final destination of the pipeline will be the Indian town of Fazilka, near the border between Pakistan and India.[22]

See also



  1. ^ "The office of consortium "Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited" will be opened in Dubai". 18 January 2016.
  2. ^ "TAPI CJSC office to appear in Dubai". 20 January 2016.
  3. ^ Abdujalil Abdurasulov, ed. (16 July 2015). "Is Turkmenistan's gas line a pipe dream?". BBC. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  4. ^ BR Web Desk (8 June 2023). "TAPI Pipeline: Pakistan and Turkmenistan sign implementation plan". Brecorder. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  5. ^ Mehdudia, Sujay (11 December 2010). "TAPI project will be the new Silk Route, says Deora". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  6. ^ Bhadrakumar, M. K. (24 December 2010). "U.S. brings Silk Road to India". The Hindu. Kasturi & Sons Ltd. / The Hindu Group. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Deadlock over TAPI pipeline persists". The Express Tribune. 7 June 2023. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  8. ^ Brisard, Jean-Charles; Dasquie, Guillaume (2002). Forbidden Truth – U.S. Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for bin Laden. Nation Books. pp. ?. ISBN 978-1-56025-414-0.
  9. ^ LeVine, Steve (2007). The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea. Random House. p. 291. ISBN 9781588366467.
  10. ^ Country Report: Turkmenistan. Economist Intelligence Unit. 1998. p. 24.
  11. ^ Croissant, Michael P.; Aras, Bülent (1999). Oil and Geopolitics in the Caspian Sea Region. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 87. ISBN 9780275963958.
  12. ^ McWilliam, Ian (27 December 2002). "Central Asia pipeline deal signed". BBC. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  13. ^ a b Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed (October 2009). "Our Terrorists". New Internationalist. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Trio sign up for Turkmen gas". Upstream Online. NHST Media Group. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Agreement sought on Afghan-Pakistan gas pipeline". CNBC. Associated Press. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "TAPI: India, Afghanistan Fail to Agree on Transit Fee". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  17. ^ "India Authorizes to Sign TAPI Gas Sales and Purchase Pact". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Pakistan and Turkmenistan to discuss TAPI gas pipeline". voanews.com. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  19. ^ Alikozai, Hasib Danish (24 February 2018). "Taliban Vows to Protect TAPI Gas Pipeline Project". voanews.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  20. ^ Putz, Catherine. "TAPI Moves into Afghanistan, Taliban Promise to Protect the Project". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "Gas pipeline project Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India approved". Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections. 21 November 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  22. ^ Tanchum, Micha'el (3 December 2015). "A Fillip for the TAPI Pipeline". The Diplomat. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  23. ^ Graeber, Daniel J. (3 December 2014). "Kazakhstan keen on TAPI gas pipeline". UPI. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  24. ^ Mustafa, Khalid (22 February 2003). "Alternate route for pipeline to be discussed today". Daily Times. Retrieved 27 January 2012.