Iran is ready to participate in a gas swap between Pakistan and Turkmenistan as it thinks that the ambitious, multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline that includes India is unlikely to become operational, a top Iranian official has said.
The USD 10 billion Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline project will help ease energy shortages in South Asia.
Hamid Reza Araqi, the CEO of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) expressed Iran's readiness to participate in the Turkmen gas swap to Pakistan.
"It is unlikely that the Turkmen gas pipeline to Pakistan will be constructed, and Iran is ready for this swap," Iranian news agency FARS quoted Araqi as saying.
"I see it unlikely for the TAPI pipeline to become operational," he said.
Given Iran's location in the centre of the region, "we can join every gas pipeline that passes around the country," he said.
Araqi, who is also the deputy petroleum minister for gas affairs, added that Iran is the best pathway for gas transmission from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, adding, "We are able to receive Turkmen gas and deliver it to Pakistan."
He said Iran had conveyed its readiness to Turkmenistan to export their gas to Pakistan but was yet to receive any response from them.
Turkmenistan, which sits on the world's fourth-largest gas reserves, started building its section of the pipeline in December 2015. The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for 30 years and is planned to become operational this year.
The project will bring clean fuel to the growing economies of India and Pakistan. It will provide energy-hungry India gas to run its power plants.
India has concerns relating to the safety of the pipeline and safe transit of gas through restive areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Under the pipeline project, Pakistan and India will be provided 1.325 bcfd gas each and Afghanistan will be getting a share of 0.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) gas.