Unocal has no plans to revive CentGas project

May 22, 2002 02:00 AM

The US company Unocal has stated that it has no intention of reviving the Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CentGas) project, from which it withdrew in 1998. The company made a public announcement to this effect following comments by Afghan officials that the project would be discussed during a trilateral summit between the presidents of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan on May 28-29 in Islamabad.
While the project may prove beneficial for all three countries, the political and economic conditions in the region are not yet conducive for such an undertaking, the company said. "Unocal has no plans or interest in getting involved in this pipeline project," a Unocal spokeswoman said. Earlier this month, Afghanistan's Minister of Mines and Industries Mohammed Alim Razim told that Unocal was the "lead company" among those that would build the pipeline.

Unocal first announced that it would withdraw from the project in August of 1998, citing "deteriorating political conditions in the region." It issued a formal statement the following December, saying: "Unocal no longer has any role in supporting the development or funding of this project."
The idea of a natural gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and possibly India was first proposed in the mid-1990s. Unocal then established the CentGas consortium in October of 1997 for the purpose of building a 1,500 km natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan's Dauletebad gas field across then-Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to Multan, Pakistan. The pipeline was to have a capacity to carry 20 bn cmpy. The gas pipeline that Afghan President Hamid Karzai envisages has a capacity of 30 bn cmpy.

The CentGas project was estimated to cost $ 1.9 bn, and other members of the consortium included the government of Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia's Delta Oil Company, Japanese-owned Itochu Oil Exploration and Indonesia Petroleum (Inpex), Hyundai Engineering and Construction of South Korea and Pakistan's Crescent Group. Russia's Gazprom was to also be a partner.

Source: NewsBase
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