Kazakhstan interested in gas export to south

Kazakhstan interested in gas export to south

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.2

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Kazakhstan is interested in increase of export, including the feasibility of gas supplies in the southern direction, said Kazakh political analyst Eduard Poletayev.

"Since its independence day Kazakhstan has been trying to get out of the transport isolation in which it found itself as a result of the peculiarities of economic development of the USSR," the head of the public fund "Mir Yevrazii" (World of Eurasia) Poletayev told Trend by phone Dec.2. "All our communications with the outside world were through Russia. As a result, the countries located farther in the south were not fully available for Kazakh export."

In general, the expert said that the southern direction is one of the most important directions for Kazakhstan for the future. This direction will give the country the opportunity to reach the nearest ocean, the Indian one.

He said that the situation with the transport infrastructure improves now. For example, Kazakhstan already exports a lot of products to Afghanistan - oil products, grain, flour, etc.

"Gas projects should also be diversified as well," said the expert.

Kazakhstan intends to take part in Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was on an official visit in Ashgabat Dec.2, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"We support Turkmenistan's intention concerning the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, and will participate in this project," Nazarbayev said.

Poletayev said that it's unclear for now how Kazakhstan will participate in this project because the country has no free gas. Gas produced in the West is already covered by other existing pipelines.

"It's hard for me to imagine how technically feasible turning of the existing gas streams from north to south is, given that Turkmenistan has enough of its gas," he said.

At the same time, the expert said that Kazakhstan has large deposits of hydrocarbons in the Caspian Sea. But rich Caspian oil and gas area requires significant technical improvements, modernization, innovations. In particular, he recalled that the Kashagan offshore project still can't be fully launched and the start of oil production is constantly postponed at it.

Poletayev said that it is possible that Kazakhstan can participate in TAPI project by its specific economic and political authority to support the Turkmen president and his plans for the economic development of the country.

At the same time, it is possible that the initiative of the president of Kazakhstan lacks a real plan of action for now and it has not yet been decided how it will be implemented, the expert said.

"It will be necessary to see how this idea is actually implemented," he said. "For example, the possibility of building Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia Caspian gas pipeline has been talked about for a long time, but the plans still remain on paper."

In addition, today one needs to take into account that the price of oil falls, and if such trends continue, many projects may be not very profitable, Poletayev said.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov said at the meeting of the Council of Elders in October that it is planned to start the construction of TAPI in 2015.

The basic document for the promotion of TAPI is Ashgabat interstate agreement signed between the participating states in 2010 on starting the practical implementation of this project.

The design capacity of the TAPI will be up to 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year, while the expected lifetime is 30 years.

The total length of TAPI will reach 1,735 kilometers. Some 200 kilometers of the pipeline will run through Turkmenistan, 735 kilometers - through Afghanistan, 800 kilometers - through Pakistan to the settlement of Fazilka, located on the border with India.

For any questions or feedback, follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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