World gas market to be of no less importance than oil sale: Turkmen president

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Oct. 2 / Trend H.Hasanov /

In the near future the gas market will be of no less importance for the planet than the sale of oil, Turkmen President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov said, the "Neutral Turkmenistan" newspaper wrote.

According to the BP (UK) energy report, in 2009 Turkmenistan occupied 4th place on the natural gas reserves in the world, following Russia, Iran and Qatar. "Turkmenistan is one of the world's largest exporters of hydrocarbons and its position will not weaken over time, because we have proven reserves of hydrocarbons, which is enough for dozens of years of strong exports. But are gas major consumers, including China, Russia and Western Europe countries, less interested in the stability of gas supplies less than we?" Berdimuhammedov added.

In his opinion, fever in the commodity markets and abrupt fluctuations in oil prices are not accidental. This ultimately affects the global economy.

Earlier, Russia has been importing almost the entire volume of the Turkmen marketable gas to redirect it to Europe and the CIS markets on the traditional route through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Currently, Ashgabat and Moscow holds complex negotiations on the revision of long-term contract. Gazprom wants to reduce the volume of gas purchases or its value because of the decline in demand due to global recession. According to the recent information about the company's reports on contracted volumes for 2009, the Turkmen segment has not yet been reflected in Russia's plans.

In such situation the Caspian gas pipeline project, which was to be built along the Caspian Sea through Kazakhstan in the same direction - to Russia, became almost "frozen".

Turkmenistan chooses the other alternative routes. An additional pipeline to Iran will be put into operation in December. This pipeline will give an opportunity to deliver 20 billion cubic meters to the neighboring state.

Another transnational pipeline, a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China, which is scheduled to be put into operation by late 2009, is a certain breakthrough. In accordance with long-term agreement, China will be delivered 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year for 30 years.

"Security of energy transit is not the scope of the selfish interests of individual countries, but a worldwide problem. Moreover, it is also an integral part of the generalized system of global security," Berdimuhammedov said.

According to the president, the existing system of international export and import energy flows still remains quite vulnerable link in the global economy: there is no generally accepted system of legal liability for breach of agreements on guarantees of unimpeded transit of energy resources.

"Accordingly, we are not only entitled, but obliged to consider the vulnerability of this link as a threat to the global security," Berdimuhammedov added.

Turkmenistan is ready to participate in the development and preparation of future global international legal document on security of energy transit under the auspices of the UN.

Access to markets in Europe and India are among the most discussed routes that are on the agenda of Ashgabat.

The Nabucco project worth 7.9 billion euro will deliver Azerbaijani and Central Asian gas to the EU. Nabucco shareholders are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE with 16.67 percent each.Construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in 2011 and the first supplies - in 2014. Its maximum capacity will be 31 billion cubic meters per year. An investment solution on the project will be made in the first quarter of 2010. The Nabucco Gas Pipeline International will invest 30 percent of the project on basis of its share. The remaining 70 percent will be provided by international institutions.

The protocol on acceleration of the Trans-Afghan project realization has been recently signed with Pakistan.

This pipeline's capacity is 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year. It has a diameter of 56 inches (1,420 mm) with a working pressure of 100 atmospheres.

Six compressor stations - from Turkmen fields to settlement Fazilka (India) on the border of Pakistan and India are planned to be constructed at 1,680 kilometer route of future gas pipeline.

The Asian Development Bank actively promotes this project.

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