Best time for Turkmenistan to export gas to Europe

Best time for Turkmenistan to export gas to Europe

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 6

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The possibility of exporting gas to Europe could not come at a better time than now for Turkmenistan, an expert on Central Asia Bruce Pannier believes.

"The EU is looking to drastically cut back on the amount of Russian gas it imports, Pannier told Trend. "The process was already underway since 2009 but the events in Ukraine and the subsequent souring of relations between the EU and Russia have hastened the EU efforts to find non-Russian sources of gas that can deliver to Europe by routes that do not pass through Russia."

With Iran, at least for now, unable to play any role in transporting Turkmen gas to Europe, Pannier believes, the only option is construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline (TCP), a project that has been under discussion for some 20 years now.

He said that Turkmenistan has always expressed a desire to ship gas via a Trans-Caspian pipeline but for several reasons no substantial progress was made towards realizing the TCP.

"Back then Turkmenistan had other options for diversification and eventually two pipelines were built allowing Turkmenistan to export gas to Iran and there is a deal to build four pipelines to China," Pannier said.

But plans to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline are moving at a crawl because of the instability in Afghanistan and some doubts about stability in Pakistan's southern Baluchistan region, Pannier stressed.

Realistically TAPI might not move forward for a decade or more, he believes.

Expert mentioned that Russia has severely cut back on the amount of Turkmen gas it buys - less than 10 years ago Russia was purchasing more than 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas per year, this year Russia said it would buy 4 bcm.

Pannier believes, there are also questions about how much longer Iran will buy Turkmen gas.

"Iran needed the Turkmen gas for areas in northern Iran that were not connected to the Islamic Republic's internal pipeline system. Despite sanctions Iran has moved forward with plans to link the northern part of the country to gas fields in the south. It will not be too many more years before Iran's pipeline network can supply all the gas northern Iran needs," Pannier said.

"So Turkmenistan is left with only China as a guaranteed customer, and Chinese officials are surely aware of this," he added.

It is an unfavorable situation for Turkmenistan to attempt to bargain a price for its gas with the only customer it has, especially when China has other potential sources for obtaining gas, expert believes.

"So Turkmenistan's need for a new customer is more urgent than it has been since the mid-1990s, when Russia was its only customer and Turkmenistan was involved in endless disputes with Russia about the price for its gas," Pannier said.

At the same time, expert believes the European Commission's expectations of Turkmen gas reaching Europe in 2019 or 2020 will not come true.

"There are still too many legal issues about the Caspian Sea's status that Russia will raise that will slow down the project," Pannier said.

Also, Russian-EU ties are not good right now and Moscow really has no reason to sit still while a new gas export route is built to help replace Russian gas to Europe, he added.

For now, Turkmenistan, holding 9.4 percent of the world's total conventional gas reserves, exports gas to Russia, Iran and China.

Natural gas rich Turkmenistan has ambitious plans to boost gas output from current 70 to 75 billion cubic meters per annum (bcm/a) to around 250 bcm/a by 2030.

In 2014, Ashgabat exported 25.9 bcm to China. At the same time Turkmenistan has contracts with China to increase its export to 65 bcm/a of gas by 2020.

Nevertheless, Turkmenistan repeatedly declared about its aim to diversify export route and the European direction is being considered as one of the options.

European Energy Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said in an interview with Reuters last week that for Turkmenistan it is very important to diversify its export options, while for the EU it is very important to diversify its imports. He said that EU expects supplies of Turkmen gas to begin by 2019.

He added that environmental risks of connected to the proposed pipeline (Trans-Caspian pipeline) could be mitigated.

Last week Ashgabat hosted a quadripartite meeting, which was attended by the heads of the fuel and energy sectors of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, as well as representatives of the European Commission.

A declaration, which confirmed the desire of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the EU to continue active cooperation within international organizations on the establishment of effective mechanisms in order to ensure energy security, was initialed following this meeting.

Follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

Georgia launches new online platform to support local tourism sector
Georgia launches new online platform to support local tourism sector
Georgia launching  new state program to promote domestic tourism
Georgia launching new state program to promote domestic tourism
Uzbekistan, South Korea to expand co-op in tourism sphere
Uzbekistan, South Korea to expand co-op in tourism sphere
Loading Bars
Latest
Thailand plans November human testing for potential coronavirus vaccine
Amount of receipts on VAT in Azerbaijani state budget up
Iran reveals value of planned exports from Markazi Province
Iran's Mobarakeh Steel Company’s plants to be put into operation
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: Armenia responsible for growing tension in region
Volume of wheat purchased from farmers in Iran's Mazandaran province increases
Iran discloses number of restored industrial enterprises in Golestan Province
Iran reveals volume of wheat, rapeseed purchased in Iran's Qazvin Province
Iran's Lordegan Company starts selling ammonia gas
Iran's Cooperative Dev’t Bank discloses amount of loans issued to Alborz Province
Iran's Tose`e Ta`avon Bank discloses volume of loans issued to Fars Province
Azerbaijani president congratulates president of Montenegro
Iran starts kilka fishing in Caspian Sea
India reports highest single day spike of 22,674 new COVID-19 cases, total nearing 850,000
Contracts to be signed in Iran’s oil and gas sector
Huawei to request UK to delay 5G network removal
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 43 times
Finnish companies eye participation in Kazakhstan's public tenders
Kazakhstan reports almost 1,800 new COVID-19 cases
Turkey registers 21 new coronavirus deaths, 1300 recoveries
UN Security Council extends trans-border aid to Syria on fifth try
Center for Integration of Persons with International Protection starts functioning at IDP Agency
Iranian companies to go to China Inl. Import Expo
Moscow's death toll from confirmed coronavirus cases rises by 27 to 4,143
WHO reports single-day increase in coronavirus cases by over 219,000
Five killed in attack on South African church, hostages freed
Iraq reopens border crossing with Iran
Saudi Arabia registers 2,994 new coronavirus cases, 229,480 in total
Kazakhstani schoolchildren to have access to e-textbooks – Minister
EBRD reveals total investments volume in Turkmenistan
Iraq confirms 2,734 new COVID-19 cases, death toll exceeds 3,000
Bolivian senate president tests positive for COVID-19
Nar and “TƏBİB” launch “Heroes of the Day” contest
Azerbaijan's SOFAZ reveals income from sales of oil, gas produced at ACG block of fields
State Oil Fund unveils volume of revenues from Azerbaijan's Shafag-Asiman block
Georgia launches new online platform to support local tourism sector
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale July 12
Iran to continue economic activities by following health protocols - Rouhani
Iran's future revenues from Yaran field announced
New residential complex built in Tbilisi with support from Bank of Georgia
Turkmenistan presents program to fight infectious diseases to WHO experts
Minister: National Iranian Gas Company not to pay fines to Turkmenistan
Provisional agenda of UN General Assembly 31st special session announced
Azerbaijan confirms 531 new COVID-19 cases
Volumes of cargo transshipment through Turkish Istanbul port revealed
Uzbekistan develops water sector to battle global climate change
Iran resumes trade relations with neighboring countries
Turkmenistan to build center for seismic surveys in oil, gas fields
Prices of Azerbaijani oil rebound
Uzbek company starts exporting of yellow watermelons to Russia
Turkmenistan may revise estimated reserves at Galkynysh gas field
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market (July 3-10)
European Commission evaluates Georgia's visa liberalization progress
Minister: Iran pays special attention to development of joint oil & gas fields
Uzbekistan to sell assets of Uzkimyosanoat JSC at public auction
Iran reveals data on COVID-19 cases for July 11
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market (July 3-10)
Indonesia reports 1,671 new coronavirus cases
Uzbekistan's Uzbekneftegaz to purchase spare parts from local producers
Bill Gates calls for COVID-19 meds to go to people who need them, not 'highest bidder'
Philippines confirms 12 new coronavirus deaths, 1,387 more cases
Compound feed production enterprise opens in Georgia's Kakheti region
AirBaltic postpones Riga-Baku flights till spring 2021
Iran discloses number of licensed enterprises in Qom Province
Iran's economy ministry suggests reducing gov't expenditures
Iran to develop Yaran oil field
Turkmenistan reveales volumes of gas export to China
New poultry farm construction in full swing in Azerbaijan
Turkmenistan continues construction of TAPI gas pipeline
Azerbaijan's SOCAR talks construction of steam turbogenerator at Azerkimya's plant
Russia reports 6,611 new coronavirus infections
Iran announces volume of loans issued to production enterprises in Qom Province
Turkmenistan to build new refinery for synthetic gasoline production
AZAL delivers 83 Azerbaijani citizens by charter flight from Riyadh (PHOTO)
Georgia increases export of cheese to Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan's COVID-19 cases top 12,000
Georgia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases
Volume of products transited via Iran's Astara railway increases
Economy Minister: Azerbaijan interested in expanding economic ties with Lithuania
Admission of foreigners to UNEC at all levels of education continues
Floods, landslides kill 23 in Nepal, dozens missing
Iranian currency rates for July 11
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 49 times
Data movement of cargo via Turkish Gulluk port revealed
Billionaire Musk's net worth zooms past Warren Buffett's
Foreign trade operations between Azerbaijan, Malaysia almost double
WTO expedites selection of DG Azevedo's successor
Iran announces number of enterprises launched in West Azerbaijan Province
Turkey discloses volume of cargo transshipment through Trabzon port
IGB to start automatic welding to speed up construction
Number of COVID-19 recoveries rises in Kazakhstan
EU annual report says Georgia continues to meet visa requirements
Ankara, London ‘very close’ to free trade deal, foreign minister says
Thailand intensifies border control with Myanmar amid concerns of COVID-19
Brazilian Amazon registers record deforestation in June
Final poll shows dead beat in Poland's run-off presidential election
Turkey records 1 003 new daily COVID-19 cases with 23 deaths
Iranian ancient objects to be retrieved from Austria
Hundreds of French women protest against new interior minister
Mali protesters take over state TV building, station goes off-air
All news