India has sought re-negotiation of the natural gas price it is to source through a proposed USD 10 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline in view of the slump in global energy markets, a top source said. The four nations to the pipeline projects had in 2013 signed a gas sale purchase agreement (GSPA) that benchmarked the price of natural gas that Turkmenistan is to export at 55 per cent of the prevailing crude oil price. This translates into a price of about USD 7.5 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) at current oil prices at the Turkmen border. Added to this would be transit fee and transportation charges which would jack up the rates to over USD 10.5 per mmBtu at the Indian border, the source said. For a consumer, the price would be around USD 13 per mmBtu after adding local taxes and transportation charges.
“This rate in the present global energy scenario is unacceptable. And so taking into cognizance of the current gas market, India has proposed for re-negotiation of GSPA,” the source said. The price of Turkmen gas is more than double of the USD 3.6 per mmBtu rate paid for post natural gas producers in India. Leaders of the four countries performed the ground-breaking of the project in December 2015 but the project hasn’t moved significantly since then. The source said the project has not moved forward because of unresolved issues like the economic viability of the project, security of supply and tie-up of debt and equity.
The four nations have incorporated TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) in Isle of Man to build, own, and operate the TAPI Pipeline. Turkmenistan’s Turkmengas has been appointed as the consortium leader. State gas utility GAIL India Ltd represents India on the consortium. TAPI pipeline is nearly 1,680-kilometers long, with 735-km in Afghanistan and nearly 800-km in Pakistan. The 56-inch diameter pipeline will run from Turkmenistan’s Yoloten-Osman gas field to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan.
In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India. Turkmenistan would export 90 million standard cubic meters per day of gas through TAPI, with Afghanistan getting 14 mmscmd and India and Pakistan 38 mmscmd each. The gas will be sourced from the Yoloten Usman field, which ranks amongst the five biggest fields in the world. The field is being developed by Turkmenistan national oil firm TurkmenGas. India had previously used its position as world’s fastest-growing energy consumer to renegotiate gas import deals with Australia, Russia and Qatar.
Renegotiating terms of the 20-year deal to import 2.5 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Gazprom saved the country between Rs 8,500 crore and Rs 9,500 crore over the contract period ending 2040. Last year, India got US energy major Exxon Mobil Corp to lower the price of 1.5 million tonnes a year of LNG from Gorgon project in Australia, saving Rs 4,000 crore in import bill. In 2015, it renegotiated a long-term deal for the supply of 7.5 million tonnes of LNG with Qatar, saving around Rs 8,000 crore.