Saudi Arabia Provides New Funding For Major Pipeline From Turkmenistan To Pakistan And India

Oil pipeline will become a fixture of world politics as the world continues on the march to preparing for a global conflict. According to recent news, a new pipeline may be in the process of construction from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India by way of Afghanistan

Turkmenistan may have found a benefactor willing to serve as Pequod in the quest for President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s white whale: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, pipeline. Berdymukhamedov has spent years promoting the project, to no avail, while misleadingly claiming progress on the pace of construction.

On January 9, state media reported that the president had signed a decree authorizing the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs to conclude a loan with the Saudi Development Fund for TAPI funding.

The size of the loan is not stated. This is only the latest offer of assistance from Riyadh. Documents seen by Eurasianet reveal that the Saudi-backed Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit, or ICIEC, has committed to $500 million in financing for the project.

The ICIEC is a member of the Saudi-led investment fund, the Islamic Development Bank, or IDB, which has offered as much as $1 billion in financing for TAPI, according to Mobin Saulat, the managing director of Pakistan’s state-owned Inter State Gas Systems. The corruption allegations that Saulat has faced of late do not seem to be adversely affecting his involvement with TAPI. Turkmenistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Atajan Movlamov, met on January 12 with the Chairman of Pakistan’s Senate, Sadiq Sanjrani, who called for further bilateral cooperation and proposed direct flights between the countries. (source)

Turkmen natural gas flowing to Europe is an interesting prospect. The EU we know is seeking a diverse range of suppliers to reduce dependence on Russia, who provide nearly half its imports. When Russia has stopped the flow of natural gas to Ukraine it has affected the EU and specifically Germany.

Enter in to this Turkmenistan, which has substantial gas and considering given its worst economic crisis in decades, Europe, which needs to import nearly 80 percent of its natural gas, need to ensure diversification of its energy markets. It is an ideal trade, and while Azerbaijan is now supplying the European natural gas market by means of the Southern Gas Corridor, its holdings pale in comparison to Turkmenistan, which sits on the fourth-largest confirmed natural gas reserves in the world.

Russia was the top buyer of Turkmen natural gas until about 2010 when what appears to have been pricing disputes and lower demand led Russia to reduce and halt, Turkmen gas imports by 2016 as it seemed to interfere with Russian gas exports, which Russia relies upon for her economic sustenance.

But the prospect of Turkmen gas flowing to European energy markets relies on new pipeline. One of such is the conceptual Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) that was first suggested by the United States in 1996 and would deliver Turkmen gas across the Caspian Sea into the SGC pipeline network in Azerbaijan and Turkey to Europe. Russia has said she would block Turkmenistan from building the pipeline, citing ecological concerns, although the reality is nothing less than geopolitical. However, with oil exports accounting for 91 percent of all Turkmen exports, Turkmenistan, and given current President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov whose cult of personality rivals that of Kim Jong Un with rampant corruption, state interference, and asset expropriation, but considering the economic crisis the nation is steeped it, what one may be seeing her in Turkmenistan with the proposal of a line through Afghanistan and Pakistan with clear US support is an attempt to build that same line but bypassing the current problems with Russia and Iran. Likewise, the railroad line that has written about being built into Central Asia is tied to this, for oil can also be transported by tanker on a train if need be.

This is a recent video from Turkmen State TV, which you can watch all available channels by clicking here, where President Berkhimuhamedov sings about his favorite horse. Turkmenistan functions a lot like North Korea.

Turkmenistan maintains an official policy of neturality in all international relations, but as the isolated Central Asian nation, which ranks dead last in the world, tied with or worse than North Korea for press freedom, continues to undergo a severe economic crisis, and with significant business interests with Israel which helps maintain government control and monitoring of her citizens, and considering allegations of Russian troop buildups on the Turkmen-Afghan border, how the nation is seeking to attract investors, and how Iran has been threatening Turkmenistan, she may be a nation to pay attention to as the fighting for oil politics increases.

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