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Europe still hopeful to get Turkmen gas

2 October 2017 09:47 (UTC+04:00)
Europe still hopeful to get Turkmen gas

By Gulgiz Muradova

Turkmenistan, a hydrocarbon-rich Central Asian, is still hopeful to see its gas reach the European markets, while Brussels counties talks in this regard.

The EU is negotiating with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan over a Trans Caspian Pipeline System, said Anca Paduraru, EU Spokesperson for Energy Union projects.

“Negotiations are on-going,” Paduraru said, when answering on progress of the talks. “The EU’s objective has not changed. To diversify the EU’s supplies, the Southern Gas Corridor aims to expand infrastructure that can bring gas to the EU from the Caspian Basin, Central Asia including Iran, the Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.”

Few years ago, the European Union intensified search for alternatives to gas imports from Russia. European officials began to push for the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor, designed to bring Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas to European markets via both the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) and Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) pipelines.

But Brussels’ search for alternative gas supplies didn’t stop at the Caspian basin and went as far as accessing Turkmenistan’s gas supply. The enormous gas recourses of Turkmenistan would reach European markets via a to-be-completed Trans-Caspian pipeline, which would subsequently link up with TANAP.

Back in 2015, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic set a firm date to expect Turkmen gas to reach Europe – 2019, but unfortunately Trans Caspian Pipeline System appears no closer to realization in the near term due to a number of obstacles, particularly unresolved Caspian Sea Status.

At the time, Turkmenistan is keen on increasing its gas exports to China to 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) this year, a 9 percent jump from 2016. Moreover, the Turkmen authorities achieved some progress over the TAPI gas pipeline to India.

Turkmenistan opened about two hundred oil and gas fields so far. Potential hydrocarbon resources of the country amount to 71.2 billion tons of oil equivalent, of which 53 billion falls on the land, and 18.2 billion tons - on marine areas.

Paduraru further stressed that the EU is committed and supports Southern Gas Corridor and the role that it plays in the EU's strategy to diversify our energy supply sources and transportation routes, as well as the crucial role of Azerbaijan as ''enabler'' of this grand project.

The SGC project is deemed to change the energy map of the region. The $40 billion project, which is expected to start ferrying natural gas into the European Union by 2020, is funded by some of the biggest loans ever granted by international financial institutions.

Azerbaijan established itself in the region as a partner that others can rely on, and the SGC grants the country a key role.

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