Turkmenistan seeks to diversify gas exports with deliveries to EU

By bne IntelliNews August 30, 2016

Turkmenistan is in talks about possible gas deliveries to the European Union as part of efforts to diversify gas exports, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said on August 29.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between Berdymukhamedov and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Turkmenistan has long advocated a pipe across the Caspian Sea linking its giant gas fields with Azerbaijan and further with Europe through Georgia and Turkey. The EU is backing the project, as it would allow it to reduce dependence on Russia for gas.

Turkmenistan hopes to start delivering gas to Europe and talks were underway with EU leaders to resolve legal and technical issues, Berdymukhamedov told a joint news conference with Merkel, according to EurActiv. 

“I hope the problems that still exist can be overcome,” Merkel said.

Ashgabat believes that the consent of Azerbaijan is sufficient for laying the pipe through the bottom of the Caspian Sea, despite Russia’s opposition to the project on environmental grounds. Azerbaijan expressed readiness to use its territory, infrastructure and transit opportunities to implement the project.

Turkmenistan has earlier announced its intention to host a summit in late 2016, which will be attended by the leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to discuss the possibility of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline construction.

Turkmenistan exported 45bn cubic metres (cm) of natural gas in 2014, mostly to China, which quickly emerged as the largest importer of Turkmen natural gas over the last few years. Looking forward, the Turkmen government hopes to make the most out of the country’s generous natural gas endowment by increasing exports to 170bn cm. Gas production in Turkmenistan reached 72.4bn cm in 2015, registering an annual increase of 4.5%, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2016.

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