Pakistan, India Sign Pipeline Deal With Turkmenistan

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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India and Pakistan have signed a long-awaited natural gas deal with the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, paving the way for the construction of a multi-billion dollar pipeline through Afghanistan.

Top Indian and Pakistani officials traveled to Turkmenistan to formalize the natural gas sales and purchase agreements on Wednesday.

Under the agreements, Turkmenistan, with the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves, will supply 90 million cubic meters of natural gas a day through a proposed pipeline connecting the Central Asian state with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The bulk of the exported natural gas will help meet growing energy demands in India and Pakistan, where energy needs are likely to double by 2030. The remainder of the gas will go to Afghanistan to help alleviate chronic power shortages in the war-ravaged nation.

The idea for an 1,800-kilometer pipeline connecting the four nations was first put forward in the early 1990s, but civil war in Afghanistan prevented its realization. The project is expected to be completed within five years, at an estimated cost of $7.6 billion.