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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar led discussion with Turkmenistan delegation headed by Muhammetmyrat Amanov, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TPCL (TAPI Pipeline Company Limited) on TAPI at Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Division.

Atadjan Movlamov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Pakistan also attended the meeting. The meeting was attended by Secretary Petroleum, Managing Director, Inter State Gas Systems (Pvt) Ltd and other high officials in the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Finance and office of Attorney General of Pakistan.

The progress on the project was reviewed, and both sides expressed their satisfaction over the progress made so far by TAPI Pipeline Company Limited, despite the challenging coronavirus situation.

Turkmenistan delegation informed that they intend to start construction activities in Afghanistan by building the gas pipeline from Turkmen-Afghan border to Herat Offtake point in Afghanistan.

The commencement of construction work in Afghanistan will immensely boost the confidence of international investors to invest in the project. Pakistan is keenly interested in re-building international standard gas infrastructure in Afghanistan and extending full support at every level to commence such development activities in Afghanistan.

Both sides also discussed Pakistan's concerns pertaining to commercial and legal aspects. The Turkmen side assured that Pakistan's concerns will be adequately addressed in the relevant agreements, and negotiations will start as soon as Covid-19 situation improves globally.

Pakistan side expressed its readiness to finalise the matter in order to proceed to actual construction work in Pakistan in parallel with Afghanistan. The two sides also agreed to finalise the Host Government Agreement by the end of this year. Turkmen side informed that their negotiations with international lending agencies and Export Credit Agencies are going well.

Pakistan side informed that it would like to do the TAPI ground breaking in Pakistan at the earliest after the finalization of the issues under discussion. Turkmenistan appreciated the support given by Pakistani authorities in timely completing the milestones, and progressing fast on the implementation of the project to meet the growing energy of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020