Energy ministers for Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and for Afghanistan’s Taliban regime have signed a joint declaration pledging their resolve to expedite construction of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan.
CENTGAS, a consortium of energy companies that began negotiating the pipeline project with the Taliban in 1997 delivered a report to the governmental leaders as part of their recent meeting in Islamabad. Current members of the CENTGAS consortium include Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, the Turkmen Ministry of Oil and Gas, Itochu and Inpex of Japan, Pakistan’s Crescent Steel company, and South Korean’s Hyundai. California-based Unocal dropped out of the pipeline project late last year.
All sides agreed to actively prepare for the pipeline’s construction by forming a Joint Task Force to coordinate the project. They also agreed that governmental officials would meet every three months to assess progress.
The proposed pipeline could generate hundreds of millions for the repressive Taliban regime. Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Batyr Sardjaev has told reporters that future projects with the Taliban may follow, saying, “We believe this project could become a precursor for several other cross-Afghanistan oil and gas pipeline projects from central Asia.”