Through the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500-kV Line (TAP-500) project, Turkmenistan seeks to export year round power to both Afghanistan and Pakistan (building on its power exports to Afghanistan since 2002). Turkmenistan to generate for available export, by 2020, some 3,500 MW of excess power. In connection with TAP-500, Turkmenistan has already commissioned (for completion by 2018) a 220-kV transmission line between Yolotan, Turkmenistan, and Serhetabat on the border with Afghanistan, and consequently, Afghanistan plans to synchronize its power grid with Turkmenistan; it further proposes the building of a larger 500-kV line through Afghanistan between Serhetabat and Spin Boldak on the border with Pakistan. Facing a significant energy crisis and deficit with significant daily load shedding, Pakistan is also open to the idea of interconnections with the proposed 500-kV line through its substation and transmission lines beginning in Chaman, just across the border from Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

Current Status

Following the signing of the TAP-500 project’s Memorandum of Understanding, in December 2015, by the President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Ashraf Ghani, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Nawaz Sharif, the project coordination and a way forward was agreed upon by all three partner countries with technical support provided by ADB. A TAP-500 Ministerial Statement will be discussed and signed on the sidelines of RECCA-VII in Ashgabat. Three technical level meetings were also held between these countries, coordinated by the project secretariat, in 2016 and 2017. In addition, an “Interconnection Scoping Study” has recently been undertaken for the project, and the selection process is well underway for identifying a consulting firm to undertake initial survey and design work, as well as to prepare the project’s scope of work and International Bidding Documents (IBD). To date, there continues to be no firm commitment made by prospective donors and international financial institutions—in the form of grants or loans—to the project. Similar to TAPI and CASA-1000, Afghanistan can perform the important role of transit country for TAP-500, paving the way for one-day achieving the creation of a Central-South Asia regional electric grid powered by these regional mega-energy projects. The project has the potential to serve as an important part of the Afghan Government’s National Infrastructure Plan.

Budget & Funding Status The ADB is prepared to draw upon its USD $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program for Afghanistan
Institutional Partners Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Asian Development Bank.

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Sign the TAP-500 Ministerial Statement on the sidelines of RECCA VII in Ashgabat.
  • Prepare technical assessment and design plan for the TAP-500 project.
  • Finalize the project’s coordination and monitoring mechanism.
  • Approve financing from public and private sources (2018) and commence with project execution (2019), taking into account important social, environmental, and security factors.