Turkmenistan to join Caspian and trans-Caspian gas pipeline projects

Mar 15, 2008 01:00 AM

Turkmenistan will participate both in the Caspian and trans-Caspian gas pipeline projects, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said. He confirmed Turkmenistan's "strong commitment to the multi-optional approach" that has a "purely pragmatic nature".
"Specific steps are already being taken to build the gas pipeline to China, along the Caspian coast, through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. The trans-Caspian route is on the agenda as well," he said at a meeting with national oil and gas industry senior officials.

"Turkmenistan is ready to cooperate at a new level necessitated by the situation on the world markets," he said.
"Today when demand for energy resources constantly grows, it is necessary to develop a more flexible approach to the use of the country's richest resources," the president said. At the same time, he noted the "importance of respecting partner obligations".

"It was Turkmenistan's initiative to build the Caspian pipeline that pave the way to a new type of partnership both at the bilateral and multilateral level," the government said. Last year, "cooperation intensified between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan that had agreed to hold a conference on practical partnership in the oil and gas industry".
In May 2007, the presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan reached an agreement in principle to build a Caspian gas pipeline. A joint agreement on its construction was signed in December.

All this time the Caspian pipeline project has dominated high-level visits to Ashgabat from the United States and Europe, for which a trans-Caspian pipeline is an important part of the Nabucco gas pipeline they are lobbying. The trans-Caspian pipeline will be high on the agenda of the Turkmen president's upcoming visit to Turkey.
The outline cost of construction of the gas pipeline along the bed of the Caspian Sea (considering today’s prices for services and construction materials) is $ 11.5 bn. Its carrying capacity may reach up to 22 bn cm of gas per year. According to experts, the technical conditions of laying the pipeline are more profitable than that of the Blue Stream pipeline (from Russia to Turkey along the bed of the Black Sea), because of the less depth in the Caspian Sea and more favourable nature.

The pipeline may be linked to the South-Caucasus pipeline, which is presently transporting gas from Azerbaijan’s gas and condensate field Shah Deniz to Turkey via Georgia. In future the gas may be pumped via Greece and Bulgaria to Italy and other European countries.
Although, the carrying capacity of the South-Caucasus pipeline amounts to 20 bn cm of gas a year, it will have free capacity for transportation due to increasing gas demand in Azerbaijan. Moreover, there are technical opportunities of expansion the carrying capacity of the pipeline.

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