ISSN 2330-717X

Trans-Caspian Subsea Gas Pipeline Project Vital For Turkey – OpEd


Turkmenistan has 20+ trillion cubic meters of proven natural gas deposits. Annual gas production is around 60 bcm, where 20 bcm is used in domestic consumption. In the past, neighboring countries Russia and Iran bought natural gas, but these sales are now stopped. Today Turkmenistan can sell gas only to China, which is situated at their east border.

Earlier, Turkmen gas was priced 160 US Dollars per 1000m3, now the gas export price is reduced to 100 US dollars per 1000m3. Natural gas sales revenues have drastically decreased in time. Turkmenistan used to export natural gas to Russia and Iran in the past. Export gas volume was around 40-50 bcm. Now the export figure is down. State agencies plan to build new gas pipelines to reach Afghanistan and Pakistan. But there is no financing secured yet for this important project.

Gas cut-off by Iran is also effected gas sales to Turkey. Recent Turkish domestic gas shortage in this winter is because of Iran’s decline to purchase gas from Turkmenistan. Earlier Iran was purchasing gas from Turkmenistan at eastern border, and selling extra gas to Turkey at their western border. Now there is no gas from Turkmenistan, so there is no gas left to Turkey since domestic Iranian gas production is just enough for Iranian local consumption.

One major option to export gas to international markets, could be to join Tanap pipeline which intents to transport Azeri gas to European markets. To realize that option, Turkmenistan should build new undersea pipeline in Caspian sea. This Project is to lay approx. 300 km subsea gas pipeline from Turkmenbashi Turkmenistan to Baku Azerbaijan, to carry 30 bcm gas at a construction cost of 5 billion US dollars. That is too costly.

TANAP pipeline is created to tap ShahDeniz Azeri offshore gas fields in Caspian sea at 16-23 bcm annual capacity with 10 billion US dollar budget to pass 1800km route from Azerbaijan through Georgia, Turkey, finally reaching to European markets.

Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan should first resolve all disputes between themselves, especially on Caspian sea offshore borders and sovereign rights. Subsea gas pipeline on Caspian Sea is technically possible but politically difficult.

Country has 5.2+ million population, situated on the east coast of Caspian sea. Land is mostly hot dry desert, with cotton agriculture where suitable. Country has offshore oil and gas production facilities on the Caspian sea. State provides basic needs of the citizens, free of charge education, health, electricity, water etc. Many things have changed since their seperation from Soviet Block in 1990-91. Turkish contractors received many orders, completed many projects, earned good money since then.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (56) was reelected as President third time in general elections on 7 February 2017, with over 98% of the eligible votes. President’s period of work was recently extended from 5-year to 7-year. The president’s 70-year age limit was lifted. Berdymukhamedov first served as Minister of Health then Deputy PM in the past. International Corruption watchdogs warn widespread misuse of state funds in the country.

Country is in a land locked geography in the central Asia, the most of the land is hot dry desert. Everyone receives free health, education and social services. Virtually they have every facility, but in reality proper products, goods or services are scarce. There is no constructive opposition for scrutiny of national upgrading, and national policies.

Country has human intellectual capacity, secular, well educated people at all academic disciplines, plus huge amount of natural gas deposits waiting to be properly exploited and transported to reach world markets. Country needs new economic policies to earn more money, to source more options, to create more wealth to serve its citizens. Country is passing through hard times.

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Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

One thought on “Trans-Caspian Subsea Gas Pipeline Project Vital For Turkey – OpEd

  • February 24, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    1) The president was 59, not 56 as you mentioned.

    2) He was elected on Feb 12, not Feb 7 as you mentioned.

    3) Turkmenistan-Iran gas pipeline is not connected to Iran’s main pipeline;therefore, it does not affect to Iran’s gas export to Turkey at all.

    4) “Well-educated people at all disciplines” does not sound very realistic.

    5) Do a bit of research before you publish an article!


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