Turkmen gas: TAPI vs Trans-Caspian

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 21

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

Despite all skepticism around the Turkmenistan-Afghansistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the project is gaining momentum. It is actively supported by Turkmenistan, which recently declared that the construction of the pipeline may start in 2015.

The preparation to choose a project development leader demonstrates the activation of all involved parties' efforts towards the realization of the project.

During the 19th meeting of the TAPI steering committee, which took place in Ashgabat, the participants confirmed the readiness of their countries to begin construction work, great interest of the sides in the rapid implementation of the project and turkmen natural gas supply to South Asia's markets.

TAPI makes sense from a commercial point of view, Andrej Tibold, analyst at Eurasia Energy Observer believes.

However, the preconditions for it to be realised remain weak.

"First of all this relates to serious security concerns in Afghanistan. Also the relations between India and Pakistan are far from ideal, which is to the detriment of TAPI, in particular from an Indian point of view," Tibold told Trend.

With regard to the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, which is also proposed the transportation of turkmen gas, but to the European direction, Tibold said that there is also a challenge for its implementation, and that is Russia's opposition. The country, as the analyst believes, will simply never agree with such a project. In analyst's opinion turkmen gas has chance of reaching the European market through Iran.

"Of course, this implies that the West first needs to come to terms with Iran first. There has been some movement here lately. However, it remains to be seen whether this will ultimately lead to a 'reset' in relations with Iran," Tibold said.

Turkmenistan ranks fourth on natural gas reserves in the world. At present, it exports gas to China, CIS countries and Iran.

Turkmenistan annually produces about 70 billion cubic meters of gas. It is planned to increase these volumes up to 230 billion cubic meters by 2030, according to the oil and gas industry development program.

You can follow this author on Twitter @AygunBadalova

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