Trans-Caspian Pipeline: concept of delivering Turkmen gas to Europe

Turkmenistan Materials 15 February 2023 18:02 (UTC +04:00)
Maryana Ahmadova
Maryana Ahmadova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 15. The Trans-Caspian Pipeline may become another alternative route for gas supplies diversification for Europe, Allan Mustard, co-founder and co-head of the Trans-Caspian Resources energy startup, Former US Ambassador to Turkmenistan, told Trend.

"Turkmenistan sits on the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, has the world's largest onshore gas field at Galkynysh, and has built a 30 bcma [billion cubic meters per annum] pipeline to deliver it to the Caspian shore. If the West were to expand the Southern Gas Corridor by another 20 to 30 bcma, it might make sense to build a 30 bcma pipeline," he said.

According to the ambassador, there is free capacity for about 5 bcma on the pipeline system between Azerbaijan and Türkiye.

"That capacity could easily and quickly be filled with associated gas from existing oil wells in Turkmen waters of the Caspian Sea by connecting existing platforms. Our analysis shows that for a relatively small investment of under half a billion dollars in such a "connector", 5 bcma could be delivered to Sangachal, the entry point of the Southern Gas Corridor, within a few months from final investment decision," Mustard said.

Moreover, as much as 10 to 12 bcma could be delivered within 18 to 24 months, which would fit in with current plans to expand the Southern Gas Corridor, he added.

"In both the 5 bcma ad 10-12 bcma case, most of the gas would likely go no farther west than Türkiye. Some would be be consumed in the South Caucasus but it would mainly go to Türkiye, thus, freeing up LNG currently bound for Türkiye that could be redirected to Europe," Mustard explained.

The ambassador added that Turkmenistan should seize this opportunity now, because the window for attracting foreign investment in any fossil-fuel projects, irrespective of size, is closing.

"In another six months, European gas companies may well have lined up sufficient alternative sources of natural gas such that they are not interested in negotiating with Ashgabat. The Turkmen need to approach European gas companies, and, of course SOCAR, which is the obvious intermediary, plus my own Trans-Caspian Resources company, to assemble an international consortium that will raise funds to finance and construct one or more short connector pipelines. Time is of the essence, which was made clear by the European Commission's recent statement on the need for energy this year. Turkmengas, Turkmenoil, and the oil platform operators should be empowered by presidential decree to negotiate with SOCAR, Türkiye, and Trans-Caspian Resources on making this project happen," he concluded.