Construction of the long overdue contentious TAPI pipeline recently began its first phase in Pakistan.
A project conceived in early 90’s spearheaded by Unocal and other prominent US companies– was meant to originate from one of the largest gas field in the world– Galkynysh– in Turkmenistan and terminate its path in India.
The project was viewed as integrating Central Asia’s vast energy supplies with the energy hungry South Asia.
However, suspicions of hegemonic agendas have kept the project in doldrums.
At the time, when the project was carved- Russian influence of Central Asian gas supplies was viewed as a potential threat; as Russia for a long period denied access to foreign companies to utilize the existing routes, adding on to that concern– a falling out between the US companies and Taliban from 98 onwards led to a deadlock on TAPI progress — efforts only resumed post 2008.
In this duration, China’s rise and quest for strong ties with Central Asia for stable energy routes added another dynamic to the clashing agendas.