Turkmenistan's Yolotan-Osman field estimated a "super-giant"
Turkmenistan's South Yolotan-Osman natural-gas field is a "super giant" and one of the world's largest undeveloped
deposits, said the company commissioned by the government to survey the country's reserves.
The field is 75 km long and 35 km wide, has a gas column of 500 meters and is likely to hold 6 tcm of gas, Jim Gillett, business development manager at London-based. Gaffney Cline & Associates said in a speech delivered at a conference in London. That's about equal to the US's proven reserves.
The South Yolotan-Osman in eastern Turkmenistan has "significant development challenges", Gillett said. These include
substantial sulphur and carbon dioxide contents and higher-than-average temperatures and pressure. Turkmenistan plans
to develop the field in series of phases each able to produce 10 bn cm a year, he said.
Gas importers are competing for supplies from Turkmenistan, Central Asia's largest gas producer. It currently exports through pipelines to Russia. The construction of a link toChina is "now well in hand," Gillett said.
The European Union wants Turkmen gas to supply pipelines from the Caspian region to lessen its reliance on Russian
At least seven parallel plants, each producing about 30 mm cm of gas a day, are possible, he said. One of these plants will produce "well over" 1,000 tons of sulphur a day, he added. Eleven wells have been drilled at South Yolotan-Osman. Seven of these fully penetrated the reservoir.
Link to China
The US had proven gas reserves of 5.98 tcm at the end of 2007, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy. The world's biggest gas deposit is North Field-South Pars shared by Qatar and Iran, which holds about 33.4 tcm of gas.
Turkmenistan's Yashlar deposit is also a "very significant" field, Gillett said. Close to the South Yolotan-Osman deposit, Yashlar holds about 700 bn cm of gas at a "best estimate". It may contain as much as 1.5 tn, he added. Four wells have been drilled at Yashlar so far, only one penetrated the reservoir.
Losing the race
Gillett said Europe was losing the race to secure gas from Turkmenistan and suffers because it does not speak with one voice. China, Iran and Russia will receive a total of about 150 bn cm of the fuel a year from Turkmenistan in the coming years, as the Central Asian state ramps up production.
"They've got to double what they're doing now before there's a molecule left for Nabucco," Gillett said, referring to the planned Nabucco pipeline from the Caspian Sea region into Europe via Turkey.
Turkmenistan's state agency for oil and gas resources opened an office in London in November. The country is seeking
foreign involvement in the development of its offshore oil fields, but won't give foreign access to onshore gas
"We are hoping to become an exporter to the whole world, including Europe," Dovlet Atabayev, head of the London office, said at the conference.