Baku, Azerbaijan, November 11 / Trend
Azer Ahmadbayli, Trend Analytical Center Expert
The Trans-Caspian system of pipelines is an important project indicative of Turkmenistan's readiness for mutually beneficial cooperation with all sides concerned, the Turkmen President stated in a recent address to the participants of conference entitled "Global Energy Markets Integration: Provision of Energy Security" arranged by the Turkmen side.
If concrete decisions on Trans-Caspian gas pipeline were taken they would excite the situation around Caspian gas export to European markets, like what happened after Turkey and Azerbaijan signed the transit agreement. However, only cautious declarations are expressed on this occasion with no one desiring to initiate the process. This concerns primarily Turkmenistan as it will receive the opportunity of getting huge earnings after having got access to reliable, rapidly growing European gas market. In such a situation and in the light of the latest events, Azerbaijan needs the gas pipeline to a much lesser extent than Turkmenistan.
The key barrier preventing Ashgabat's entering the European market is the Moscow's position, and all the declarations address EU leaders.
As a kind of international business, energy transportation by pipelines is in the zone of permanently growing demand, President Berdymukhamedov said. In turn, this increases global economy's demand in crude energy, particularly, oil and gas, which will become urgent for the entire global energy shortly. "Therefore, the desire of world's strong energy powers, including Turkmenistan to boost export potential, and establish multi-vector modern, efficiently operating energy transit and delivery capacities is quite substantiated," the address reads. All the said can be replaced by one phrase: "We would very much like to sell gas to you (EU)".
"Political stability in Eurasian countries should be ensured, and all favorable conditions for harmonic development of their respective economies should be created for the sake of equal-in-rights, mutually beneficial cooperation," the Turkmen leader said. In other words, "If you (the EU) want to buy our gas, guarantee conditions ruling out any political destabilization to us".
Telling often that gas may be sold to anyone but only at border, official Ashgabat also wants to demonstrate its political neutrality and prove that it acts proceeding from commercial reasons only.
Turkmenistan's international initiatives submitted to the UN for examination are also an effort to legally provide its political safety in the event of making concrete decisions on energy transit. Speaking at UN Assembly General's sessions, the Turkmen President repeatedly suggested establishing a group of experts to be involved in preparation of recommendations related to to-be international legal document on energy transit, with offers of all sides concerned in consideration.
It is wrong to reproach Ashgabat of indetermination as it simply is forced to take the possible aftermath of deterioration of its relations with the northern neighbor into account. For this reason, Europe, if it really needs Turkmen gas, should bear the function of key negotiator to agree with Moscow by itself.
The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is part of project Nabucco, which is one of the Southern Gas Corridor's projects envisioning Caspian energy export to European markets. It envisages the laying of a 300-kilometer pipeline over the seabed from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan. Turkmenistan is to bear the main energy burden of the project.