Ashgabat, 4 November 2017 (nCa) — The panel discussion was visibly convincing – as soon as it ended, the people who matter in the natural gas upstream and construction sector started lining up to hand their calling cards to the panelists and putting in a few words about what they can do for TAPI.
These are the people whose senses are calibrated for early and accurate detection of success, and that is why they are industry leaders.
As a matter of fact, there was strong aroma of successes in all areas as the discussion sped through fact after fact, answering the unasked but lingering questions, tracing the lines to connect the dots easily.
We are talking of the panel discussion on TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project) that was held on 3 November 2017 at the annual oil and gas conference of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat.
First, the list of panelists:
- Muhammatmurat Amanov, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board, TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (Moderator of Panel)
- Rahimberdy Djepbarov, Chairman, State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan
- Ajmal Ahmady, Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, Banking and Finance, TAPI Board Member, Office of the President of Afghanistan
- Cevdet Denizer, Country Director (Turkmenistan), Asian Development Bank
- Stefan Buerkle, Managing Director, ILF Consulting Engineers
- Sachin Karia, Partner, Allen & Overy
- Sebastian Hofert von Weiss, Head of Project Finance, EY/AHB
Establishing the relevance of these panelists to TAPI will help explain their comments and remarks during the discussion.
Amanov is obviously the key person, being the head of the company tasked to oversee all aspect of the TAPI project. He is also the main representative of Turkmenistan in partnership aspects of the project.
Cevdet Denizer is the country director of ADB in Turkmenistan. ADB serves as the TAPI secretariat and acts as the financial advisor of the project. It is also a financier of the project.
Djepbarov is the chairman of the state bank of Turkmenistan for foreign economic affairs. His bank, also called VneshEkonomBank, is the financial agent for TAPI and loops in the financial affairs of the project.
Dr. Sebastian Hofert von Weiss is Head of Project Finance, EY/AHB, a multifarious service provider that acts as coordinator for interaction of TAPI with extra credit agencies.
Dr. Stefan Buerkle, who is the managing director of ILF Consulting Engineers, provides engineering and design services to TAPI in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was his presentation that attracted the loudest applause at the panel discussion.
Sachin Karia is a partner at Allen & Overy, the legal consultants to TAPI.
Ajmal Ahmady, the advisor to the president of Afghanistan, is the point man of Afghanistan on TAPI and empowered to take any steps that would ensure the success of TAPI inside the territory of Afghanistan.
The organizations represented by these people constitute the talent and resource pool (backed by the full political will of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan) to make TAPI happen inside the territories of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
After the short introductory comments by each panelist, Amanov opened the discussion.
He said that the procurement processes and pre-order procedures were finalized and contractual documentation was about ready.
Amanov said that several proposals for credit were under study and ADB was fully onboard. The financial portfolio was taking final shape, he said.
He said that inside the territory of Afghanistan, TAPI will help start and sustain power generation and gas chemical projects.
Ahmady, speaking on behalf of Afghanistan, said that his country was fully focused on TAPI. He said that the engineering design contract with ILF was signed in Kabul in February 2017.
Four provincial conferences have been held to take into confidence the people and areas along the route of TAPI and the teams are visiting every two weeks to build the community support.
He mentioned four main benefits of TAPI for Afghanistan: 1. Fuel for industry; 2. Fuel at lower cost for all consumers; 3. Cleaner source of energy; and 4. Increased revenues for the government.
Amanov asked whether there was significant demand of gas in Afghanistan.
Ahmady said that sizable offtake of gas would be required inside Afghanistan as there was huge demand for certain sectors, most notably power generation.
He mentioned that Afghanistan had signed three IPP (Independent Power Production) contracts and all of them were to be located in northern Afghanistan. He added that TAPI will help create such projects in the southern and western parts of Afghanistan.
Amanov said that as each member of TAPI was working for the expedited implementation of the project, does Afghanistan see any influence of TAPI beyond the economic benefits.
Ahmady said that TAPI is not just an economic project – it is equally a political project, bound to stimulate peace and progress in not just Afghanistan but the entire region. He said that the interests of all the stakeholders are fully aligned.
Amanov said, yes, some 1.5 billion people will benefit from TAPI.
To be continued . . . /// nCa