ADB to Invest in TAPI Pipeline Project

ADB to Invest in TAPI Pipeline ProjectADB to Invest in TAPI Pipeline Project

The Asian Development Bank officials were on hand for signing an investment agreement approved by shareholders of a company managing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline.

The initial budget outlines more than $200 million for route surveys and engineering studies. Once those are completed, the ADB said, construction on the artery can begin, UPI reported.

Bringing natural gas through a pipeline from Turkmenistan will help address chronic energy shortages in Pakistan, ADB said. Sean O'Sullivan, regional director general for ADB, said the pipeline would go a long way toward addressing Pakistan's energy woes.

"It will unlock economic opportunities, transform infrastructure, diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan and enhance energy security for the region," he said in a statement.

Turkmenistan is expected to send up to 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for the next 30 years once the pipeline is completed.

Hailed as essential for regional economic and energy development, the project has drawn western support in a region where adversaries Iran and Russia play a dominant energy role.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani led a delegation of political and economic dignitaries on a two-day visit to Pakistan in March. Rouhani pressed for a resumption of talks related to the long-delayed natural gas pipeline planned by the two countries.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman, Nafeez Zakaria, said the project was important for the country, but sanctions in the past presented major obstacles.