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Turkey, Turkmenistan moot trans-Caspian gas pipeline

31 May 2013 14:17 (+01:00 GMT)
Turkey, Turkmenistan moot trans-Caspian gas pipeline

London, 31 May (Argus) — Turkey and Turkmenistan have signed a framework deal on pumping Turkmen gas through the planned Trans-Anatolia Pipeline (Tanap) to Europe.

“We have discussed various issues and signed an agreement for carrying Turkmen energy resources to Europe through Turkey,” Turkish president Abdullah Gul said late yesterday.

Turkey has continuously expressed interest in Turkmen gas supplies feeding Tanap, which would link Azerbaijan's Shakh Deniz gas field to Turkey's western borders with Bulgaria and Greece. Adding Turkmen gas to Tanap would require a 300km pipeline under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan.

“Turkish and European markets will open to Turkmenistan,” Gul said.

Turkmenistan is seeking ways to diversify its gas export routes and reduce its dependence on Russia, which has exerted significant influence over export prices of Turkmen gas in recent years. The proposed link to Tanap by a pipeline under the Caspian faces stiff opposition from Russia and Iran, who insist that the five countries with Caspian shorelines — Russia, Turkmenistan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan —should first reach an agreement on the status and division of the Caspian Sea before any such construction can start.

Turkmenistan has proven natural gas reserves of approximately 265 trillion ft³ (7.5 trillion m³) — among the largest in the world — and production at its giant Galkynysh field is scheduled to begin by 30 June. But Turkmenistan's limited export options pose challenges to its exploitation of these resources. Most of its gas is exported to Russia, China and Iran.

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