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EDITIONS
Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Afghan pipeline given go-ahead
Musharraf at trilateral summit
The leaders hope for future oil profits
The leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to construct a $2bn pipeline to bring gas from Central Asia to the sub-continent.

The project was abandoned in 1998 when a consortium led by US energy company Unocal withdrew from the project over fears of being seen to support Afghanistan's then Taliban government.

Pipelines
Work stopped on the project in 1998
The President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Nayazov, the chairman of Afghanistan's interim administration Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf signed a memorandum of understanding in Islamabad on Thursday.

President Musharraf said the 1,500km pipeline would run from Turkmenistan's Daulatabad gas fields to the Pakistani port city of Gwadar.

The Pakistani leader said once the project is completed, Central Asia's hydrocarbon resources would be available to the international market, including East Asian and other far eastern countries.

Pakistan has plans to build a liquid-gas plant at the Gwadar port for export purposes.

Call for interest

The three countries have agreed to invite international tenders and guarantee funding before launching the project.

Unocal has repeatedly denied it is interested in returning to Afghanistan despite having conducted the original feasibility study to build the pipeline.

There is also a question mark over stability in Afghanistan, but interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai said peace was prevailing all over the country.

Afghan officials believe the pipeline could yield significant revenues for the impoverished country in the form of transit fees.

The pipeline could eventually supply gas to India.

President Musharraf also said he was committed to a proposed gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India as it was in his country's economic interest.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ahmed Rashmid, Far Eastern Economic Review
"There's no sign that any oil company is involved, it is very unlikely to happen until there is stability in Afghanistan."
See also:

13 May 02 | Business
08 Nov 01 | Americas
07 Nov 00 | South Asia
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