Gas pipeline from Turkmenistan trough Caspian to Turkey to cost $ 2 bn
A natural gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan with Turkey and crossing the Caspian seabed would cost around $ 2 bn and
take about 2 years to build, a feasibility study just completed shows.
The presidential hydrocarbons committee said that the study had been presented to the Turkmen government recently by Enron, which was asked to estimate the costs in July, 1998.
The 2,000 km pipeline would run from Turkmenistan's huge gas reserves across the Caspian Sea, through Azerbaijan and Georgia and deliver gas to Turkey.
"The results of the study have confirmed that the project is technically realisable and economically advantageous both for Turkey and for other participants," the statement said.
The study was funded by a $ 750,000 grant from a U.S. government agency.
The pipeline would have the capacity to carry up to 30 bn cm of gas a year.
Turkmenistan is keen to build new export routes for its hydrocarbon wealth. Gas output, exports and earnings slumped in 1997 and 1998 after Russian Gazprom shut off its network linking Turkmenistan with markets in the West.
A small route has been built to neighbouring Iran, but more outlets are needed to allow the arid, impoverished state of 4 mm people to realise its potential as a gas supplier.
An alternative to the Turkmen-Turkey route via the Caspian and Caucasus is a link with Turkey running south and then
west through Iran.
Washington, which opposes oil and gas transportation routes running through Iran, would prefer to see the trans-Caspian option pursued.
Turkmenistan's Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry has estimated the cost of a 30 bn cm Iran link at $ 3.8 - $ 4.0 bn.
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has given upbeat forecasts for gas exports in the long term, but he has been vague where the financing for the multi-billion dollar projects will come from.