Turkmen president: Consent needed for pipeline construction under Caspian seabed
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Nov. 22 / Trend H.Hasanov /
Turkmen President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov said Turkmenistan firmly believes that pipeline projects under the Caspian seabed should be implemented only with the consent of those countries, through which sections of these pipelines will pass, local media reported today.
He added that the implementation of such projects is possible on the condition that they "will strictly comply with the highest international environmental norms and standards," the Neytralniy Turkmenistan newspaper reported.
The Turkmen leader emphasized that the Caspian Sea is a unique natural body of water, whose fate should be of particular concern to all littoral countries.
Focusing on the significance of the third Caspian summit in this context, Berdimuhammedov instructed the relevant high-ranking officials to study thoroughly all issues related to problems on the Caspian and the intensification of an effective partnership in the region.
"The question of defining the legal status of the Caspian should be resolved solely on the basis of a consensus among the parties and the optimum balance of interests based on universally recognized norms of international law," the Vatan newspaper quoted the president as saying.
Turkmenistan, along with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Iran, borders the Caspian, which is rich in hydrocarbons and bioresources. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was necessary to adopt a new agreement on the legal status of the reservoir.
The EU believes that Turkmenistan - given its immense gas resources ranking the biggest in the world after Russia, Iran and Qatar - will be able to guarantee energy security through resource diversification. The Trans-Caspian Pipeline, which would link Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan and pass through Turkey to European markets, is regarded as a prospective project in this regard.
The Nabucco gas pipeline project, whose assets have grown considerably since major oil and gas companies from the United States and the West arrived in Turkmenistan, is mostly linked with this direction, experts say. Recently, an announcement was made that agreements on the mining and exploration of oil and gas resources on the Turkmen shelf may be concluded with Chevron and Total. Nabucco shareholder's the German RWE has contracts with the Turkmen government.
Western observers note that the start of the construction of the East-West gas pipeline, which will connect the reserves of the field with the east Caspian coast, gave a recovery to this process.
Recently, Ashgabat announced its readiness to supply 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year for Nabucco, including resources from Yoloten and the Turkmen section of the Caspian Sea where the Malaysian Petronas operates.
According to recently released data from the Turkmengeologiya, the resources at Yoloten, which is among the top five biggest fields in the world, are roughly 21 trillion cubic meters of gas.