By Dzhumaguly Annayev and Staff
Turkmenistan, sitting on top of one of the globe’s biggest reserves of natural gas, is looking for new markets and delivery routes.
The British consultancy Gaffney, Cline and Associates, put the reserves of the Galkynysh field in Mary Oblast alone at between 13.1 trillion and 21.2 trillion cu. m. Furthermore, estimates of gas reserves are going up.
“Geological exploration has shown that [Galkynysh] has more gas than previously announced,” Oil and Gas and Mineral Resources Minister Mukhammetnur Khalylov said.
Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrat Khojmukhammedov confirmed the figures.
“The total reserves of oil and gas in Turkmenistan comprise more than 71.21 billion tonnes of standard fuel, 70% of which is gas,” Khojmukhammedov said. “This is quite adequate to meet all contractual obligations.”
In recent years, Turkmenistan has invested more than US $7 billion (20 billion TMT) in the gas industry, enabling total extraction in 2013 to stabilise at 78 billion cu. metres, of which Turkmenistan exports about 60 billion cu. metres to the north, east and south.
From January through May, Turkmenistan exported 11.5% more gas than it did during the same period last year.
Tempting figures and plans
The trend allows Turkmens to make optimistic forecasts and claims for better prospects for both gas production and the acquisition of new markets.
“The total amount invested in these projects is estimated at US $28 billion [79.8 billion TMT],” Azerbaijani industry observer E. Mamedov said in a piece for haqqin.az.
“Deliveries of Azerbaijani gas totalling 16 billion cu. metres per annum are projected to begin in 2018,” he wrote. “Although Turkmenistan has set aside 10 billion cu. metres of gas [per year] for export to Europe, [its] chance of resuming exports to Europe can come true only if the European countries significantly raise their demand for imported gas.”
The government insists that it drew up estimates reflecting the planned construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Trans-Caspian gas pipelines, each with a projected annual delivery capacity of 30 billion cu. metres.
However, realising those ambitions is far from guaranteed, some say, though Turkmenistan is constantly seeking new ways of delivering energy to foreign markets.
“We put much hope in the implementation of deliveries of Turkmen gas to Europe via Turkey,” Sakhatnur Kadyrov, a Turkmengaz gas field engineer, said.
Gas from Turkmenistan could reach Europe via the future Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) once that pipeline, which Turkey estimates will be complete in 2018, is done, Taner Yıldız, the Turkish minister of energy and natural resources, said during Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s visit to Ankara June 2-5.
Azerbaijan, Turkey work with Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan is ready to help Turkmenistan.
“If Turkmenistan wants to export gas to Europe, Azerbaijan is willing to provide all of its available infrastructure,” Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natik Aliyev said, according to 1news.az.
“Calculations by the UN show that extraction of gas in our region will double by 2035,” Aliyev said. “We expect an increase in the amount of oil extracted in Kazakhstan, where the Kashagan oilfield is being actively developed. We also expect the discovery of major new reserves of gas in Turkmenistan.”
Pipeline to the West
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan is building the Vostok-Zapad (East-West) pipeline. It’s expected to have a length of 766km and to cost more than US $2 billion (5.7 billion TMT). It will connect major gas fields in the east to the Caspian Sea shore.
The Vostok-Zapad pipeline would help diversify export routes to Europe, Turkmen media report.