Turkmenistan needs to diversify export routes – expert

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 24

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

Turkmenistan needs to diversify its gas export routes, Luca Anceschi, lecturer in Central Asian Studies at University of Glasgow told Trend in an interview.

He said that today China is the largest market for Turkmen gas, which is going to increase the volume of purchases in the future as well.

It is expected that in 2016 China will bring the annual volume of purchases of Turkmen gas to 40 billion cubic meters, and starting from 2021 - to 65 billion cubic meters.

At present, Turkmen gas, in addition to China, is being shipped to Russia and Iran. Iran has large reserves of gas, and only its lack of infrastructure in the northern regions of the country puts Tehran in the position where it needs to buy Turkmen gas. After solving the problems with its infrastructure, Iran may stop buying Turkmen gas.

As for Russia, in recent years, it has reduced purchases of Turkmen gas by more than 10 times - from 40-45 billion cubic meters a year earlier to 4 billion cubic meters in 2015.

Anceschi said that thus Turkmenistan, in perspective, can be left with only one huge market for gas supply, which is China. He added that it is not in the interests of Turkmenistan to depend on a single market.

Along with the diversification of export routes, Turkmenistan needs large investments to develop its fields, especially the Western ones, according to Anceschi.

Speaking about Turkmen gas supplies to Europe, Anceschi said that they would be optimal both for Turkmenistan, which is interested in diversification of export routes, and Europe, which seeks to diversify the supply routes.

Regarding the possibility of Turkmen gas export in several directions, the expert said that Turkmenistan has large gas reserves, which would be enough to fill several pipelines, but the main issue in this case is the presence of investment.

Under the program for development of the country's oil and gas industry, it is planned to increase the gas production volume to 230 billion cubic meters by 2030 and the major part of this volume is considered for export.

It was earlier reported that over 76 billion cubic meters of natural gas was produced in Turkmenistan in 2014 and more than 45 billion cubic meters of this volume was sent for export.

The transportation of gas across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and then to Europe is among the promising new export routes for Turkmenistan. By 2019, Azerbaijan and its partners will have created the most modern gas transportation infrastructure, Southern Gas Corridor. Only one missing section, the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, is needed for connecting of Turkmenistan to it. Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan clearly recognize that the project of this pipeline construction is the matter of only these two Caspian countries.

---

Follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

Edited by CN

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