Turkmenistan’s state-owned company TurkmenGaz will lead the consortium for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline, with a majority investment.

This was agreed to by all sides at the 22nd Steering Committee meeting of the TAPI Natural Gas pipeline project, held in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, on Thursday.

“During the meeting it was agreed that four countries will own the project and take steps for early implementation of the project. All sides endorsed the Turkmen proposal.

It was agreed that all the sides would make investments in the project subject to techno-commercial viability, shareholders’ agreement and investment agreement,” said a Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas statement.

BusinessLine had reported on July 27 that with major private players, including French major Total, backing out of the project, state-run firms would need to step in.

Apart from TurkmenGaz, the other state-run companies expected to take stake in the project are Afghan Gas Enterprise, Inter State Gas Systems (Pvt) Ltd of Pakistan and GAIL (India) Ltd.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan led the Indian delegation to the meeting.

Talks held Pradhan also held bilateral meetings with the Petroleum Ministers of all the three other participating countries and stressed on the need for the project, the statement said.

The Petroleum Minister also expressed hope that construction for the Turkmenistan segment of the pipeline will start in December.