Prospects of Turkmen gas export to Europe via Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 8 / Trend H. Hasanov /

Prospects for the transit of Turkmen gas to Europe via Iran have been increased. "The chances of such development have been slightly increased," a Western diplomat from Ashgabat told Trend , commenting on putting into operation the second Turkmen-Iranian gas pipeline (from the eastern Turkmen deposit).

At this stage, capacity to pump Turkmen gas to Iran increased to 14 billion. About 20 billion cubic meters can be indicated in the project. "This is almost a threefold increase as compared to the previous one," he said, recalling that Turkey and Iran have a common gas distribution system.

They have been holding talks on aspects of the transit of Turkmen gas (Ashgabat has recently imposed a ban for re-export) for a long time.

At this stage, carrying capacity to pump Turkmen gas to Iran increased to 14 billion, the project could reach 20 billion cubic meters. "This is almost a threefold increase compared with what it was before," - he said, recalling that Turkey and Iran have a common gas distribution systems, long engaged in talks on aspects of the transit of Turkmen gas (in Ashgabat recently re-imposed a ban).

Experts suppose that it can be dealt about operations "swap" (replacement). It is a common practice with the transportation of Turkmen oil. Iran is quite a stable transit country for Turkmen energy to Turkey for a long time.

As it is known, despite the negative attitude of the United States, the EU considers Iran as a supplier in advertised gas pipeline project Nabucco. So, the possibility of using this country as a transit is not excluded.

"Of course, we are not talking about the short-term propsect," he added.

According to Iranian media outlets, the Turkmen side joined the negotiations on the transit of Turkmen gas to Europe via Iran on the eve of the Iranian president's visit in Ashgabat. Turkmenistan makes only statements that the implementation of the Turkmen-Iranian projects contribute to the diversification of routes.

Meanwhile, Ashgabat in mid. 1990 acted as the initiator of this project. While opening the first inter-state gas pipeline from western field Korpedje in Turkmenistan to the Iranian city of Kurt-Kui in mid. 1990, it was symbolically written Turkmenistan-Iran-Europe on the pipeline. Feasibility of Shell was prepared. Shell is one of the leading oil and gas companies in Europe.

On the other hand, despite the fact that Iran is the world energy power (the second largest reserves of natural gas), it becomes an important importer of that fuel in the Caspian region. Neighboring Turkmenistan vigorously develops this market. The fact that the Turkmen gas fields border with Iran's provinces, which are rather distant from the gas fields in its country and the general distribution system. It became advisable to open the gas flow between two countries in 1990.

The negotiations of Iran and Turkmenistan on a new pipeline were held in summer 2009 after Berdimuhammedow announced about the abundance of commercial gas. Ashgabat put this amount on the international auction. Experts think that Iran is using any variant of the international cooperation by isolating from the West. The benefits are obvious, especially geopolitical ones.

Turkmen commentators on local television speak about the importance of the gas pipeline to China introduced in December 2009, and now another facility to Iran. "All this will give stability of strategic sector of national economy, regardless of the economic and political situation in the world, ensure security of demand for one of the main spheres of national export," politicians said.

Official Ashgabat is sure that, besides pure economic effect, diversification serves to strengthen the country's sovereignty, its right to free choice of business partners, avoiding politicization of commercial projects.

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