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Caspian countries have supported a project to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline to supply South Asia with natural gas. The pipeline would have a capacity of 1 trillion cubic feet per year. Most recently, however, tensions between Pakistan and India have threatened to stall the project, which a variety of energy companies are interested in funding. Caspian oil currently moves through South Asia primarily via Iranian oil swaps: Iran imports oil from Central Asian countries that is sent to refineries in Tehran and Tabriz and then delivers an equivalent amount of oil to potential buyers in the Persian Gulf, bypassing the challenge of getting Central Asian oil to global markets.” (EIA.gov, September 12, 2013)

The pipeline mostly runs through parts of southwestern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency controls or influences many districts. But a spokesman for the insurgent group, Zabihullah Mujahid, says it supports the project and will ensure the pipeline’s protection.” (VOA, Feb. 22, 2018)

Herat Governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi told VOA the Afghan and Turkmen presidents will additionally inaugurate work on the construction of a railway link between the two countries, as well as fiber optic connection along the TAPI route” (VOA, Feb. 22, 2018).

The Taliban also protect opium poppy and trade, it seems.

There are literal oil and gas pipelines and there are metaphorical drug pipelines with similar routes:

https://www.unodc.org/wdr2017/field/Booklet_1_EXSUM.pdf

From VOA:
Work on Afghan Section of TAPI Gas Pipeline to Begin Friday
February 22, 2018 2:00 PM, Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — 
Afghanistan will host leaders from Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India on Friday for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Afghan section of a much-delayed multi-billion dollar gas pipeline connecting the four nations.

The $10 billion mega project, known as Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India, or TAPI, will connect Central Asia with South Asia and is expected to become operational this year.

The 1,814-kilometer pipeline will carry an estimated 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually for the next 30 years from the world’s fourth-largest reserves in Turkmenistan.

Officials say India and Pakistan would buy around 14 billion cubic meters each, while the remaining five billion would go to Afghanistan.

Friday’s inaugural ceremony will take place in the western Afghan city of Herat where President Ashraf Ghani, his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India’s Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar will be in attendance.

Turkmenistan launched construction of its section of the pipeline in December 2015.

Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and India have since deteriorated over allegations Islamabad is not doing enough to stop terrorist groups from using its soil for attacks against the neighboring countries. Pakistani officials deny the charges.

But despite the tensions, energy-deficient India is showing renewed interest in TAPI and pushing for its operationalization, according to Indian media reports.

“Today, given the energy requirements in India, there are several gas pipeline proposals before us. We are, however, strongly committed to TAPI pipeline project,” Akbar was quoted as saying.

The project is more than the sum of four nations’ interests and creates a benchmark for regional cooperation, he added during an implementation committee meeting in Turkmenistan.

Economic milestone

The Afghan government and business community also see the pipeline as a milestone in the war-shattered country’s economic development. Kabul is expected to earn up to $500 million annually in transit duties and the project will help create as many as 25,000 jobs, local media quoted Afghan analysts.

The pipeline mostly runs through parts of southwestern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency controls or influences many districts. But a spokesman for the insurgent group, Zabihullah Mujahid, says it supports the project and will ensure the pipeline’s protection.

Herat Governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi told VOA the Afghan and Turkmen presidents will additionally inaugurate work on the construction of a railway link between the two countries, as well as fiber optic connection along the TAPI route.https://www.voanews.com/a/work-afghan-section-tapi-gas-pipeline-begin-friday/4266085.html (Emphasis our own.)

SEPTEMBER 12, 2013
Caspian countries are developing new oil and natural gas export capacity
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, IHS EDIN

Update: The long-delayed Kashagan field reportedly has produced its first oil, according to the North Caspian Operating Company.

The Caspian Sea region has the potential to export oil and natural gas to European, South Asian, and East Asian markets. With rising energy prices and growing global demand for oil and natural gas, Caspian region countries (which include Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran) are developing several approaches for increasing exports of oil and natural gas. Some countries cooperate and jointly develop oil export capacity, while others focus on attracting enough investment to create their own routes.

Traditionally, Caspian oil and natural gas went directly to Russia through Soviet infrastructure, such as the Central Asia-Center (CAC) gas pipeline system, where some could go to Western markets. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have had the most success in developing Caspian oil and natural gas export capacity through the construction of several major pipelines, which have become the main transit routes for Caspian hydrocarbons.

The biggest export route to bring oil directly from Caspian fields to European markets is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which was commissioned in 2006. The BTC pipeline runs from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and carries an average of 1 million barrels of oil per day. A parallel pipeline built around the same time transports up to 280 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

With growing oil and natural gas production in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, the two countries are working to develop new export routes, such as the Kazakhstan-Caspian Transportation System (KCTS). This network will take oil from Kazakhstan’s largest fields, Kashagan and Tengiz, and move it to the Caspian coast where it will go by ship to Azerbaijan and then on to the BTC pipeline. KTCS is expected to supply 300,000 barrels per day through BTC to global markets, gradually increasing to 800,000 barrels per day. Foreign investment will fund part of the project, estimated to cost $4 billion.

The main avenue for delivering Caspian oil to East Asian markets is the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline, built through a joint venture between the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) and Kazakhastan’s KazMunaiGas in 2009. The pipeline is currently upgrading to accommodate expected oil from the Kashagan oil field. The Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, commissioned in 2009, transports up to 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to China’s Xinjiang region. Kazakhstan plans to link this pipeline to its own production sites to export more natural gas to China.

Caspian countries have supported a project to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline to supply South Asia with natural gas. The pipeline would have a capacity of 1 trillion cubic feet per year. Most recently, however, tensions between Pakistan and India have threatened to stall the project, which a variety of energy companies are interested in funding. Caspian oil currently moves through South Asia primarily via Iranian oil swaps: Iran imports oil from Central Asian countries that is sent to refineries in Tehran and Tabriz and then delivers an equivalent amount of oil to potential buyers in the Persian Gulf, bypassing the challenge of getting Central Asian oil to global markets.
Principal contributor: Alexander Metelitsa

Tags: international, Iran, liquid fuels, map, natural gas, oil/petroleum, Russia
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=12931
Emphasis our own.

Cocaine also transits in this area:

Drug trafficking maps and more info: https://www.unodc.org/wdr2017/field/Booklet_1_EXSUM.pdf

Country names in red added to EIA gov map because the original map cut off Pakistan, leaving it as “stan”.