The previous government was confident that India would start getting gas through the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) from 2017. However, Jatin Aneja, equity partner at law firm Amarchand Mangaldas, says that is unlikely. Aneja advised on the ongoing structuring and negotiations for gas sale and purchase agreement to be signed between Gail (India) and TurkmenGaz for the TAPI pipeline. Jatin Aneja speaks with FE’s Siddhartha P Saikia on the outlook on the pipeline project and the infrastructure sector. Excerpts:
How is the TAPI pipeline project
The gas sale purchase agreements (GSPAs) have been signed. What they are doing now is to form a consortium for the pipeline and get a lead partner. It is contemplated that the pipeline will be run run by an international company, and not any member country. Each country will have a minority stake in the pipeline. It is contemplated that they will probably have composite of 40-49% stake, while 51-60% stake will be of the contractor/pipeline developer.
Is the consortium company going to be registered in the US?
Likely not in the US. There is this treaty for protection of pipelines and certain countries are signatories to that. The US is one of that, but the consortium may be registered in an island country.
What is the transit fee model for gas flowing through the pipeline?
It will be a per unit of gas (mBtu) transit fee. Within India there won’t be any transit fee because the TAPI pipeline technically will end at the borders of India and then it will be Gail pipeline. So to Gail it will get delivered at the border. India will have to pay the transit fee to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Will IOC partner with Gail to sell
There are some conversations on that. But let’s see how this story develops. IOC wants to get into gas business. It is trying to enter into LNG sale-purchase and to do some project in North America. It is booking capacity and trying to develop an LNG regasification terminal in the east coast. Since both Gail and IOC are government companies and it depends on what the ministry thinks and to what extent it allows them to do that.
When do you expect work to begin on the pipeline?
It all depends on the interest shown by stakeholders, and who is the transporter. The transporter will have to to manage the relations with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not so much