Turkmenistan and Pakistan signed a memorandum of intention to construct a transmission line to export power from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.

The 1150 km line will cost $290 million. The deal will cover the capacity deficit Pakistan expects after 2005. No date has been given for the start of construction. Turkmenistan has previously harboured ambitions to export both oil and gas to Pakistan through Afghanistan but the civil war in the latter country made a deal impossible.

Turkmenenergoproyekt and the Turkish company STFA are preparing a feasibility study, according to the Turkmen ministry of energy and industry. The country authorised STFA to take charge of its power exports. STFA is talking with companies from the USA, Japan and South Korea with a view to establishing a consortium to build the transmission line.

In a separate move, the Pakistan government is considering a proposal to purchase electricity from Iran to supply the border areas of Balochistan, including Nokandi and Taftan. The region is far from the Water and Power Development Authority grid and it is not economical to supply grid connected power to the region, the utility claims.

In addition, a report is being prepared studying the possibility of interconnecting all the nations of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), which includes six former Soviet republics, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. A Turkish company has been granted authority to study the transmission system in Pakistan, and similar studies will be undertaken in other ECO countries.

Turkmenistan is already planning to export power to other ECO countries through Iran’s power network, according to reports from Iran. A 200 km interconnection between Turkmenistan and Iran is due to be inaugurated this month.