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ADB's Work in Turkmenistan

Energizing Growth

A view of Ashgabat
A view of Ashgabat

ADB has been involved in projects that could change the trajectory of Turkmenistan.

Not long after Turkmenistan joined ADB in 2000, the two partners undertook one of the most ambitious projects in Asia.

ADB has served since 2003 as the secretariat of the 1,600-kilometer Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Natural Gas Pipeline, which will export up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.

Not only will this produce vital revenue for Turkmenistan by creating a larger market for its huge gas reserves, it will also increase energy security for 1.5 billion people in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. Since 2013, ADB has been the transaction adviser on the project, undertaking a wide range of activities that drive the project forward. ADB is expected to serve as financial adviser for the second phase of the project, with a view to bringing it to financial closure in the near future.

“TAPI exemplifies ADB’s key role in promoting regional cooperation and integration over the past 20 years,” says Sean O’Sullivan, Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department. “It will unlock economic opportunities, transform infrastructure, diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan, and enhance energy security in the region.”

Moreover, the 1,600-kilometer natural gas “Pipeline of Peace,” as it has been described by participating countries, is intended to bring Central Asia and South Asia closer, promoting stability and prosperity in the region.

"The TAPI pipeline is a true game changer, a historic undertaking that will address the energy needs of the region and contribute to development, peace, security, and, in turn, prosperity."

Sean O’Sullivan
Director General, Central and West Asia Department

After opening an office in Turkmenistan in 2010, ADB worked with the country to attain membership in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation program, and has supported transport and energy projects that link it to its neighbors.

Part of ADB’s work linking Turkmenistan to its neighbors included the 2011 North‑South Railway Project, which improved 288 kilometers of railway between Chilmammet and Buzkhun. The railway has become an important transport link for regional trade from Turkmenistan to Iran, Kazakhstan, the Persian Gulf countries, the Russian Federation, and South Asia. It has also led to the economic development of local areas adjacent to the route. ADB is also providing expert advice on the long-term export of power to Afghanistan.

ADB intends to broaden and deepen the scope of its engagement in the years to come, focusing more strongly on institutional development, public financial governance, private sector investment, pilot testing innovation, and knowledge sharing and application.

This article was originally published in a special edition of Together We Deliver, which tells 50 stories highlighting the importance of good partnerships in Asia and the Pacific in meeting the complex development challenges of this dynamic region.