ISLAMABAD - The Host Country Agreement between Pakistan and TAPI Pipeline Company Limited for Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India gas pipeline will be signed next week, it was learnt reliably.

After the approval of the Heads of the Terms of the Host Government Agreement by the federal cabinet the way for mutual agreement is paved and now an agreement in this regard will be signed on March 12, official source told The Nation here Friday.

A delegation of TAPI Pipeline Company Limited will be visiting Pakistan to ink the agreement, said the source. It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet Thursday approved Heads of the Terms of the Host Government Agreement between Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) of Pakistan and TAPI Pipeline Company Limited regarding the execution of Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India gas pipeline project.

The host country agreement is the second important step in the TAPI following the Gas Sale Purchase (GSP) agreement among all the partners countries which had already been signed, said the official. The gas sales and purchase agreement for TAPI had been signed in 2013 under which it was agreed that the gas price at the Turkmenistan border would be around 20% lower than the Brent crude price. The groundbreaking of TAPI pipeline took place in December 2015 which will help control the energy shortage of member states of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. However the ground breaking ceremony of TAPI, of Pakistan section, is likely to be held by the end of March 2019 in Pakistan and the head of states of all four partner countries would be requested to attend the ceremony. This announcement was made by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), TAPI Pipeline Company Ltd Muhammetmyrat Amanov, during his visit to Pakistan in December 2018.

First inter government agreement of 1680 km TAPI pipeline (from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Pak-India border) was signed in 2010.The total gas volume is 3.2 billion cubic feet per day and it will be completed with an estimated cost of $ 8.5 billion. Turkmengaz was nominated as consortium leader in August 2015 with 85% shareholding and Pakistan, India and Afghanistan having 5% shares each. Under the agreement, Turkmenistan will make an investment of around $24 billion to deliver around 3.2 bcfd of gas for 25 years (after the inauguration of project). Out of the total investment $15 billion will be poured into developing the gas field whereas the remaining will be spent on laying of the pipeline.

The Host Country Agreement will enable the TAPI Company to secure the facilities and services from the host country for the implementation of the projects within its territory.