Empty Promises of Turkmen Gas for Europe and China’s Prescient Policies

Will Turkmenistan’s resources for the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innocent Adyasov

Trans-Caspian pipeline project yet, and apparently still long enough to be worn primarily propaganda. The main goal of “Trans-Caspian” – not to conclude the negotiations for the construction of the Russian “South Stream”.

When the actual freezing of the project NABUCCO again quite active (somewhere from mid 2011) began attempts to revive the already half-forgotten (for the first time the idea of such a pipeline was announced back in 1996) Trans-Caspian pipeline project. In March 2012 visit of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to the Ukraine. In Kiev, to the unconcealed delight of the Ukrainian authorities Berdimuhamedov announced the idea of building a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia (with a possible offshoot of the Ukraine) – Turkey – European Union (EU), to supply gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. Power of the planned pipeline must be up to 25 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

Visit to Kiev was preceded by a Turkmen president of the preparatory work for a long time: Ashkhabad and Baku together with EU experts has prepared a road-show to potential investors pipeline. In March 2012 representatives of business circles of the USA expressed their willingness to contribute to the potential the Turkmen authorities to diversify its natural gas exports to the world market and the implementation of projects on construction of new transnational pipelines that would bypass the “northern areas”, that is, bypassing Russian territory. This was discussed at the talks in Washington with members of the Turkmen delegation heads of several leading U.S. oil and gas companies, in particular, such as Chevron, Exon Mobil, Conocophillips.

Notably, before the diplomatic and economic activity of diplomacy between Washington and Brussels on the Turkmen direction was aimed at connecting Ashgabat to the project NABUCCO. However, experts immediately raised the question: Does Turkmenistan have enough resources to provide new gas mega-project? Data on real and proven natural gas reserves in Turkmenistan – perhaps the main and most guarded secret of Ashgabat.Turkmen authorities like to refer to the data of the second stage of a formal independent examination of the British company Gaffney, Cline & Associates. Examination showed that the gas reserves in the country is more than 71.21 trillion tons. Previously, they were estimated at 44.25 trillion. tonnes. Almost half of all gas reserves are concentrated in the South Iolotan field, which is the main resource base for the filling put into operation in 2009 Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan – China. Gaffney, Cline & Associates believes South Yolotan second largest gas field in the world, estimating fuel reserves at 26.2 trillion cubic meters. In reliance on this data and taking into account the fact that in 2030 Turkmenistan plans to increase annual oil production to 67 million tons and natural gas – up to 220 billion cubic meters a year, the question of diversification of export routes.However, the findings of the British firms were immediately called into question decided by independent experts.

In addition, it is unclear what investments will be needed for the development of potential gas fields.

Today, Turkmenistan exports its natural gas to Iran, Russia and China. According to data provided by the Government of Turkmenistan for the past 2011 exports of natural gas rose by 75.2 percent. In comparison with the same period in 2010 the growth of production of gas condensate and oil in the country amounted to 107.9 percent, the volume of production of “blue fuel” increased by 42.5 percent. Turkmenistan to Russia in 2011 exported about 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas (in the early to middle of the last decade, exports exceeded 50 billion cubic meters of gas). Such a sharp fall in exports of Turkmen gas to Russia is connected primarily with the increase Ashgabat prices for natural gas to the European average (excluding transit) and a reduction of purchases of natural gas by Ukraine – previously it was mainly supplied with “Gazprom” blue fuel due to re-gas from Turkmenistan . Iran is planning to buy in 2011 in Turkmenistan, about 14 billion cubic meters of gas (there is no exact data on the actual volume of gas exports to Iran in 2011).But the bulk of Turkmen gas exports to China fell.

According to official data, in the Celestial Empire was delivered 17 billion cubic meters of gas exports in 2012 should amount to more than 30 billion cubic meters by 2015 by increasing the capacity of gas pipelines to reach 65 billion cubic meters.

Despite all the assurances of official Ashgabat on putting new deposits, experts believe that exports to China is provided by the volumes of natural gas that was previously on the northern route to Russia. But the question arises about the financial performance of the Turkmen gas exports to China. According to experts, China is paying per thousand cubic meters of gas Ashgabat only 170-180 dollars, a large part of the payments made Chinese goods. As a result, Turkmenistan delivers its gas to China at the lowest compared to other buyers price, and to compensate for financial losses from gas deliveries to Russia, China’s direction can not be. To refuse such a low price for gas supplied in the Celestial Kingdom will not be able Turkmenistan – mining (more accurately maintain production levels in the old), and construction of gas pipelines was carried out on Chinese loans.

Ashgabat, Baku, and the EU when the project starts “Transcaspian” counted on the participation of Kazakhstan in the pipeline. An official invitation from the European Union to participate in the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline Kazakhstan received October 4, 2011 during the VI Eurasian Kazenergy Forum in Astana, voiced by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger . Almost immediately, the Minister of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan Mynbayev said that his country does not provide the resources to fill the Trans-Caspian. It is worth noting that earlier thread was supposed to extend a pipeline from Kazakhstan’s Tengiz to the Turkmen Turkmenbashi.

As is the case with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan’s main exports of natural gas (up to 15 billion cubic meters) will go to China.

Despite the obvious problems with the resource base, the EU continues to support all alternatives to Russian gas pipeline projects from Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the project “Transcaspian” is proposed to consider only as part of the NABUCCO project in its broad interpretation. Invented a new, even a new definition – “Southern Corridor” – apparently, as opposed to the “Northern Corridor”, marching through the territory of Russia.”The position of the EU’s Southern Corridor project”” has not changed. We still would like to implement this project as quickly as possible, without delay, “- said the head of the EU Delegation in Azerbaijan Roland Kobia in mid-April.

Referring to negotiations on the legal basis of the implementation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline (as you know, Russia strongly opposed the construction of any pipeline in the Caspian Sea to the determination of his status), Kobia said that negotiations are continuing. “A few weeks ago was the last round, which has been progress. The next round will take place in the next few weeks in Brussels, or perhaps in Vienna. We welcome the participation in the negotiations the two parties – Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, “- said the diplomat. “We heard about the positive statements of SOCAR, indicate that the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline – a bilateral issue between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and it will not create any legal or environmental issues. We believe that this project – the case of the two countries, and no one should interfere in this process.Already there are thousands of kilometers of pipeline in the Caspian Sea, and we do not think that this project will greatly affect the ecology of the Caspian Sea, “- said the representative of the EU. According to Kobia, the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project is part of the NABUCCO and logically included in the definition of “Southern Corridor”.

All of the above facts suggest that the Trans-Caspian pipeline project so far and, apparently, still long enough to be worn primarily propaganda. The main goal of “Trans-Caspian” – not to conclude the negotiations for the construction of the Russian “South Stream”, which should enter the final stage in the summer and autumn of 2012. In the case of the successful launch of the project “South Stream” project on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline will be possible to put a cross.

Source :: news agency REGNUM
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