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TAPI Pipeline Adds to Iran’s Economic Woes

This should be counted as a win in Washington’s economic war against Iran: India is set to sign an agreement on the long-discussed TAPI pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Tajikistan to India.

The Times of India has the story:

The 1,680-km pipeline from Turkeministan’s South Yolotan field, now renamed as Galkynysh, will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan.

In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India.

The pipeline would carry 90 million standard cubic meters per day of gas, of which 14 mmscmd would be bought by Afghanistan. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each.

Plans for an alternative pipeline that would have run from Iran to India through Pakistan have been shelved for now. The so-called IPI pipeline would have been shorter, would have run through less difficult and less violent terrain, and thus would have been cheaper. But after prodding from Washington, the TAPI pipeline looks set to become the winning project.

Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan all have problems with energy shortages. Pakistan, in particular, suffers from regular blackouts because there is not enough electricity. Last year, riots paralyzed whole cities that went without electricity for as many as twenty hours a day. Hopefully the TAPI pipeline will go some way to alleviating these kinds of energy shortages. And with any luck, economic cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India will promote political friendliness as well.

Meanwhile, the choice of TAPI over IPI, combined with India’s recent decision to cut its Iranian oil imports by 11 percent this financial year, does not bode well for Iran’s economy.

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  • Anthony

    Economic arrangements (trade) geopolitical tool to supplement both soft and hard power strategies vis-a-vis Iranian policies – TAPI over IPI.

  • Kris

    Iran-Pakistan-India. Talk about strange bedfellows!

  • Doug

    How is it possible to secure a pipeline over this region infamous for banditry, chaos, war, etc. etc. It seems the owners/operators will be over a barrel the second it comes online, if not before. Even if everyone in the region wanted to play nice, Iran could say to Mr. Afghan, “Here’s $XXXX, please go mess with the TAPI pipeline.”

  • Mark in Texas

    This is the kind of infrastructure development that can actually change Afghanistan as well as lead to a more peaceful relation between India and Pakistan and greater prosperity in western Asia.

    Now follow it up with a railroad across Afghanistan.

    How to keep things working in the Mad Max world of Afghanistan? Go to the head guy in each area where the pipeline or railroad passes through. Award him a certain number of slots for people to get technical training to work on the pipeline, a certain number of construction jobs, a certain number of armed guard jobs, a certain number of no show jobs and a certain amount of cash every month that the pipeline is working. If somebody blows up the pipeline, the money stops until it is in operation again. If the next guy down stream takes a bribe from the Iranians to allow the pipeline to be blown up, he is taking money from the other warlords’ pockets and he needs to make that money up to them (which dilutes the value of the bribe). If he refuses to share his Iranian bribe money, that is an insult requiring a violent response.

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