Turkmen gas transportation prospects to Europe

Oil&Gas Materials 16 November 2012 19:49

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 16 / Trend /

Trend commentator Aygun Badalova

Turkmenistan has repeatedly stated about its interest to export gas to Europe. However, according to many analysts, its interest and willingness were expressed only by statements. The country does not take real efforts.

Nevertheless, some facts, as well as the recent events testify to the fact that the transportation of Turkmen gas to European markets may become a very real prospect.

Turkmenistan has said this week that gas production will begin from the largest field "Galkynysh" in 2013, which is the second largest field in the world. Gas production from the field is expected to reach 30 billion cubic meters.

At present, Iran, Russia and China are the main sales markets for Turkmen gas.

Taking into account the rapid growth of the economy and ever-growing demand for energy resources in this regard, China is a quite attractive market. China is also an opportunity for Turkmenistan to reduce dependence on gas imports by Russia.

China and Russia have repeatedly had gas disputes.

It was quite logical that when the new volumes of Turkmen gas were delivered to this Asian country. Turkmenistan could increase gas supply up to 65 billion cubic meters per year due to "Galkynysh" field compared to the current 30 billion cubic meters. These volumes were in the spotlight during the Turkmen-Chinese intergovernmental negotiations in July.

However, the results of the ongoing negotiations between Russia and China could have a crucial role in this issue. Up to 68 billion cubic meters of Russian gas may be supplied to China in the future if the agreement is reached and Russia proposes the reasonable prices. Thus, if China may not reduce, it will not increase gas imports from Turkmenistan either.

Turkmenistan may intensify its efforts in the European direction of gas exports in this scenario of events.

A lack of necessary infrastructure is the problem for transporting Turkmen gas to European markets. The construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline could be a good decision. Many analysts are still calling the Trans-Caspian pipeline project as a myth.

Turkmenistan has been negotiating on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline with the EU and other countries since late 1990's of the last century. The unresolved issue of the Caspian Sea status is the main obstacle to the project implementation. However, this opinion is disputable.

EU representatives have repeatedly stated that the undefined status of the Caspian Sea can not be a hindrance to the project. The will and agreement of the concerned parties, namely, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are required to construct a pipeline.

One can say that there are prerequisites for implementing this project. These are the political will of the parties, the beginning of the negotiation process between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, as well as the necessary volumes of gas.

The negotiations on this issue can be intensified after choosing the final route of transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe in 2013 within the Southern Gas Corridor, to which Trans-Caspian pipeline may be connected in the future.