Status of Turkmen gas transportation projects as of December 2011

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Dec.17 / Trend H.Hasanov /

Turkmenistan is able to export gas to China, Iran and Russia. This year projected gas pipelines in Turkmenistan are: additional to Russia (the Caspian Sea - via Kazakhstan), Europe (Trans-Caspian gas pipeline - via the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan) and India (Trans-Afghanistan via Pakistan).

BP reported that Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world for natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran and Qatar. The largest fields are located in the east of the country at "Southern Yoloten - Osman" (recently they were merged and renamed as "Galkynysh") and "Yashlar" with total resources valued by local geologists and British GCA at 26.2 trillion cubic meters.

According to BP, in 2010 Turkmenistan produced 42.4 billion cubic meters of gas compared to 36.4 billion cubic meters in 2009. Gas consumption in the country in 2010 totaled 22.6 billion cubic meters compared to 19.9 billion cubic meters in previous year.

Trans-Afghan gas pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India)

A design capacity of Trans-Afghan gas pipeline (territory of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India - TAPI) is 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Buyers are Pakitani and Indian gas companies.

Project Status

The project significantly progressed in 2011. The basic document to advance TAPI project is an inter-state agreement to start implementation of TAPI, signed at a high level in Ashgabat in December 2010. Instability in transit Afghanistan remains as a serious obstacle, but Kabul states that it can ensure the safety of the route.The Asian Development Bank actively promotes this project funding the preparation of its feasibility study. The source of raw materials in addition to the Dovletabad field will be developed "Southern Yoloten - Osman" field. The length of the pipeline may hit 1,735 km.

Ashgabat recently stated that a principle agreement was reached with Pakistan on the cost of Turkmen gas and an agreement will be signed soon. Cost of transit through the territory of Afghanistan remains unsolved. At present, the principle of forming an international consortium is under discussions and issue regarding funding of the project is being solved. Russia displays interest in this project at a high level, while the United States supports its implementation.

Central Asia- Center Gas Pipeline (Turkmenistan-Russia)

The Central Asia-Center gas pipeline crossing Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia was put into operation in late 1960 with a capacity of 80 billion cubic meters per year. Over time, the pipeline's power was reduced up to 40-50 billion cubic meters per year. Reconstruction is necessary. Gazprom, the company buying the gas, signed an agreement with Turkmenistan for gas supplies for over 25 years in 2003.

Project Status

At present, the Central Asia-Center Pipeline does not operate at full capacity. Russia suspended Turkmen gas imports in April 2009 due to an accident. Although technical issues have been resolved, but global recession forced Russia to reduce its purchases to 10 billion cubic meters of gas in 2010, four times less than in 2008. This year it became possible to supply Russia with raw materials not only from the eastern fields of Turkmenistan, but also from the west - thanks to the construction of a connecting branch from the Caspian Sea coast, where Petronas can begin industrial gas production on the offshore block.

Asian Pipeline (Turkmenistan-China)

The Asian gas pipeline traversing Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China was put into operation in December 2009, with a design capacity of 40 billion cubic meters per year. Recently an agreement was signed in Beijing to increase purchases of up to 65 billion cubic meters of gas. Construction of additional facilities are required.

Project Status

The Chinese company CNPC is the buyer. The company concluded an agreement with Turkmenistan on gas supplies for over 30 years with a maximal volume in 2006.China should receive 17 billion cubic meters of gas from Central Asia in 2011. Moreover, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may receive access to the Turkmen fuel imports in 2012. In this regard, CNPC is laying a gas pipeline branch on the seabed with length of 29.3 kilometers, which will link mainland China and Hong Kong.

Korpeje-Kurt-Kui Pipeline (Turkmenistan-Iran)

The pipeline was commissioned in December 1995. Today, its capacity has reached 8 billion cubic meters per year.

Project Status

Its potential capacity can be increased to 14 billion cubic meters. The National Iranian Gas Export Company is the buyer.

Dovletabad-Sangbast Pipeline (Turkmenistan-Iran)

The Serahs- Dovletabad Pipeline (to the borders of Iran) with a capacity of up to 6 billion cubic meters a year was commissioned in late December 2009. The accompanying branch in Iran from Serahs to Hangeran through Sangbast was opened in November 2010.

Project Status

The buyer of gas is the National Iranian Gas Export Company. There is a potential to increase the pipeline's capacity by twice.

Caspian Pipeline (Turkmenistan-Russia)

The Caspian gas pipeline's design capacity, running along the coast of the Caspian Sea from Turkmenistan to Russia via Kazakhstan, is 30 billion cubic meters per year. Gazprom is the buyer. The company signed an agreement with Turkmenistan for supplies over 25 years in 2003. The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed the agreement on its construction in May 2007.

Project Status

The preparation of a feasibility study has been suspended due to geo-economic changes.

A high-ranking representative of Russia stated earlier that an agreement was reached to freeze the project. In turn, Turkmenistan stated that no negotiations were held.

Trans-Caspian Pipeline (Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Europe)

The design capacity of the 300-kilometer-Trans-Caspian pipeline through the Caspian seabed between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is linked to Europe's demand for Turkmen gas and defining Caspian Sea status between the two countries. Trans-Caspian project can become part of the "Southern Gas Corridor", designed to diversify gas supplies to Europe.

There is no direct agreement on the implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline yet. However, in September 2011 the European Union issued a mandate to start negotiations on an agreement between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian project. Negotiations are underway.

Despite the fact that construction of an underwater gas pipeline is associated with unresolved status of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan believe that implementation of this project is the two states' sovereign right.

Also in May 2011 Turkmenistan expressed its interest in the AGRI project (Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector), which envisages the liquefied gas supply from Azerbaijan through Georgia and the Black Sea to Romania. The project cost will depend on designed capacity and may range from 1.2 billion to 4.5 billion euro.

Project Status

Ashgabat believes that consent of the parties (Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan), territory of which is covered by the project, is enough to lay pipeline through the seabed of the Caspian Sea, legal status of which has not been yet determined. Azerbaijan expressed its willingness to provide its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure to implement the project. Representatives of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) made this statement recently.

Turkmenistan announced its readiness to supply 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year for Nabucco, 10 billion of which can be provided by Malasyian Petronas operating in Turkmen section of the Caspian Sea. The remaining volume may be provided by a1000-km-long East-West gas pipeline, which is under construction in the country, which originates from the Southern Yoloten field, and finish in the Caspian Sea coasts.

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