Energy resource exporters rely on predictable, multioptional, safe and transparent markets: US Department of State
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, April 24 / Trend , G.Hasanov/
The United States decisively supports to diversify energy markets and transit corridors both in Central Asia and between this region and other markets, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State on South and Central Asia George Krol said in Ashgabat on April 24.
At the same time, he noted that diversifying in the region is not carried out through ancient and traditional trade relations, but on the contrary, it can strengthen these relations and provide common efficiency... We stress importance of legislative base, modernization and investment.
Barack Obama Administration's senior official sounded this position at the energy conference in the Turkmen capital. Recently, the West, Russia and China have displayed great interest to the Caspian countries where over 20 trillion cubic meters of gas is concentrated. Krol stressed that Obama administration prefers using the balanced approach on this issue. Appointing Ambassador Richard Morningstar as special envoy on the Eurasian energy testifies this fact. "This appointment shows Obama administration's paying great attention to cooperation and dialogue on energy issues," he said.
The initiator of the forum, Turkmenistan has sold the lion's share of the export gas to Gazprom Open Joint Stock Company (OJSC) until recently. This fact has enabled the Russian monopolist to minimize expenses on developing own fields and maintain a gas balance for re-export of valuable fuel to the European markets within a long period of time. The situation considerable changed on the backdrop of the global economic crisis, when demand decreased and Russia decided considerable cut the Turkmen gas import on "domino effect".
According to official Ashgabat, this measure has become one of reasons of the accident in the Central Asia-Centre main gas pipeline in the night on April 9 in 2009. This accident has caused to halt delivering the lion's share of the Turkmen gas which thus far has not been resumed. Experts note that Ashgabat which was dissatisfied with Moscow's violating conditions of the contract, and respectively, with money delays has become to demonstrate high activity in alternative issues, particularly on Europe as part of the Nabucco project. The pipeline to China is under construction and at present Turkmenistan has small-capacity pipeline to neighbor Iran.
At the conference, Krol said "energy resource exporters, including Turkmenistan rely on predictable, multioptional, safe and transparent markets to receive maximum benefits from natural resources, forecast and plan necessary infrastructure expenses and expand access to the used and new markets. He said importers rely on the same principles, as well.
The U.S. Department of State thinks energy security policy does not mean "competition". Producers, transitors and consumers will receive only benefits from the system which will provide transparency and security. The fact that the many assembled at one hall to examine vital aspects testifies for developing understanding of it, Krol said.
He said U.S. energy security strategy on international arena meets country's domestic strategy and is focused on variation of energy sources, reasonable use of energy by means of efficiency and energy security, diversification of secure and reliable supply routes, energy suppliers "working on open and transparent markets free of political pressure."
Kroll said "presence of reliable international energy supply is of great importance in a period of unstable financial and economic situation." The U.S. fully backs current efforts focused on strategic thought and preparing an approach to improve global energy infrastructure.
"Basic principle of the U.S. foreign policy in the Central Asia, which also impacts energy policy of the United States, is respect to sovereignty of countries in the region... The United States also believes that sovereignty, independence and prosperity are strengthened by development and diversification of trade relations," he said.
Some Central Asian countries have huge potential as an oil and gas producer. Others have hydropower opportunities. "More enhanced regional cooperation can boost comparative advantages so that it will be beneficial for producers and consumers and will contribute to development of stabile and prospering regional economy."
Diversification of pipelines and markets opens large opportunities both for suppliers and importers. Kroll said access to stabile and secure energy supplies is one of the major issued facing companies who are willing to come to South Asia. "Export of energy sources from the Central Asia can help solve these issues. Supply of Central Asian energy to South Asia requires improved situation in Afghanistan. The U.S. is actively working with international donors to improve access to energy in Afghanistan and to develop resources."
As a striking example, he cited Caspian Sea which possesses huge potential. The U.S. assisted with the construction of BTC and South Caucasus pipeline to export energy sources from the Caspian region to foreign markets. Kazakhstan exports huge volume of oil to world markets via Azerbaijan. "We hope that trade relations will develop and we promote developing dialogue between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, organizer of the conference," he said adding that mechanisms of a free market are crucial to exploration of energy resources. "It is important to attract experience and skills of international energy companies to use these mechanisms in an efficient way.
Private American and other companies in the Central Asia have necessary experience to address the problem regarding high sulfur content, high temperature and pressure, deep drilling which often occur while developing local fields. "Cooperation in private sector in investing in production and expanding transit and export opportunities is the most effective and economic way of realization of full potential of region's natural resources," Krol said.
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