The chief executive of Turkmenistan’s state gas enterprise, Myrat Archayev, has said Russia might become a transit zone for Turkmen gas shipments to Eastern Europe. He made the comments at an Ashgabat energy conference heard on November 2.
The statement comes after years of Turkmenistan mulling over the possibilities for exporting gas directly to Europe but largely facing Russian opposition to the initiative. Turkmenistan has not been in good graces with Russia, with Russian gas company Gazprom’s deciding at the beginning of 2016 to stop importing Turkmen gas. However, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has recently visited Russia and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have a working system of pipelines running in the northern direction through which Turkmenistan historically exported natural gas to Russia and other CIS countries,” Archayev said.
Turkmenistan’s share of global gas output stood at 1.9% in 2016, BP figures show.
Turkmenistan exports most of its gas to China through the Central Asia pipeline. The country exported 29.4bn cm of natural gas to China in 2016 and had aimed to boost gas exports to the Chinese to 65bn cm by 2021, until the construction of the Line-D section of the Central Asia pipeline came to a halt. The second major export destination for Turkmen gas is Iran, but a row at the start of 2017 over an historical debt has caused shipments to the Iranians to come to a halt.
Turkmenistan, meanwhile, is constructing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. The project envisages supplying gas from one of the world's largest fields, Galkynysh, with estimated reserves of 13.1tn cm of natural gas, to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world in terms of gas reserves after Iran, Russia and Qatar.
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