The Southeastern Route: Afghanistan to Pakistan
For gas exporters, cost rises with length of pipeline. The shortest and cheapest export route for Turkmenistan oil and for its vast gas reserves is through Afghanistan, and serious planning for both oil and gas pipeline construction by US companies has long been in place. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in 1997 to build a large Central Asian Gas pipeline through the less mountainous southern parts of Afghanistan to Pakistan, and then possibly on to the growing market of India. The Central Asian Gas Pipeline Consortium was made up of Unocal (US, 47% share), Delta Oil (Saudi Arabia, 15%), Government of Turkmenistan (7%), Itochu Oil Exploration (Japan, 6.5%), Indonesia Petroleum [INPEX] (Japan, 6.5%), Hyundai Engineering and Construction (5%), and the Crescent Group (Pakistan, 3.5%). Unocal was the lead developer, much encouraged by the US government. In December 1997, senior officials of the US Department of Energy meeting in Washington with Taliban ministers put their blessing on the enterprise.
The $1.9 billion Centgas pipeline is to be 120 cm. in diameter, and to
run 1271 kilometers from the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border, due south
and then east, generally following the Herat Kandahar road, then
cross the Pakistan border at Quetta, terminating at Mulat. The Turkmenistan
government has agreed to build a short pipeline to the huge Dauletabad
gas field. 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year will flow down
the pipeline, and the Turkmenistan government has guaranteed to deliver
708 billion cubic meters of gas to the consortium equivalent to
the entire reserves of the Dauletabad field.
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