US would support construction of Trans-Afghan pipelines

Feb 06, 2002 01:00 AM

The US government would support the construction of oil and gas pipelines running from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan. The agency said that US Deputy Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones told Turkmenistani President Saparmurad Niyazov during a visit to Ashgabat on January 31 that Washington would support such projects as long as they were commercially viable.

Jones said that while the United States did not invest in pipelines, it would support private companies that chose to undertake such projects if they were considered to be beneficial. She said Washington was ready to hold talks with governments on the creation of favourable tax conditions for the construction of export pipelines and on strict fulfilment of contract terms.
On the possibility of a natural gas pipeline being built that would originate in Turkmenistan and run across Afghanistan to Pakistan and possibly to India, Jones said such a project could prove to be profitable, taking into account that demand for energy in the region was high.

In the late 1990s, Unocal of the United States and Bridas of Argentina both made attempts to form consortia for the purpose of building a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline. But the continuing war in Afghanistan, as well as protests in the United States over human rights abuses in Afghanistan by the Taliban, made it impossible for the project to succeed.
In the wake of the overthrow of the Taliban and the creation of a new government in Kabul, the project has once again come to light. However, the continued volatility of circumstances in the region suggests that it may take several years of political stability before the project could be seriously revived.

Source: NewsBase
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