China could benefit from Trans-Caspian pipeline

Kazakhstan, Astana, Oct. 26 / Trend , A.Maratov /

As a result of favourable prices in the Far East, Azerbaijan, has said it will supply its gas not only to Europe, but also to China, Director General of the Kazakh Institute of Oil and Gas Uzakbai Karabalin told Trend today.

He said: "In the future, if the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline becomes a reality, it cannot be said that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will export gas only to Europe. If China consumes more gas and offers Azerbaijan the best price, then it can deliver its gas in the opposite direction, that is, through Turkmenistan and further to the east."

In September, the European Union announced a mandate to negotiate a Trans Caspian gas pipeline with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. It should be noted that the EU is also proposing an agreement to support infrastructure projects for the first time.

Mr. Karabalin said today Azerbaijan has developed a system of offshore pipelines and as it owns large gas reserves, is interested in diversifying its supplies. Turkmenistan, which has no less natural gas reserves, is already shipping it to China.

He went on: "In any case, the gas produced in the Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan part of the Caspian Sea is needed to be delivered to a specific shoreline. If it's to Europe, then it lands on the Azerbaijani shoreline and if it's China, then to the Turkmen one. The matter is all down to the price determining which direction it goes in."

He said Europe which is today focused on the development of alternative energy sources, as well as pursuing a policy of energy conservation, is unlikely to be able to consume all the gas produced in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Karabalin said the issue of the Trans-Caspian project, despite the EU mandate, is to be harmonised with other Caspian littoral countries.

"It is well known that one of the main problems of the Trans Caspian pipeline is linked with the environment that affects all five Caspian littoral states. The question here is not just a technical it is also economy and the environment. Moreover, the environment comes first."
He added though that Kazakhstan has not yet actively become involved in the negotiations on the Trans-Caspian project.

He said: "One of the reasons is that Kazakhstan today has the ability to transport large volumes of gas in the traditional system of Central Asia, but does not have the sufficient volumes of gas such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to fill new pipelines, including the Trans-Caspian gas one."

He said, for example, large gas volumes in Tengiz and Karachaganak are injected back into the reservoir to maintain reservoir pressure. This same technology is applied for the Kashagan field. He said the large volume of gas currently produced in Kazakhstan at this stage is needed to meet domestic needs.

He went on: "The rest goes for industrial and domestic use. According to the agreement, another part of the gas volume from Tengiz will be directed to the gas and chemical complex in Atyrau in the future. We need to gasify Astana, as well as south of Kazakhstan."

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