The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, which will bring Turkmen gas to European consumers, is quite viable and is implementable. This is the view of a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, founder of International Market Analysis Ltd. Ariel Cohen.
“It is very easily done technically. It requires an interconnector of only 120 kilometers between the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea and the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian,” the well-known American political scientist said in an interview with Trend news agency.
According to Cohen, international financial institutions such as the European Bank for reconstruction and development or the Asian development Bank can invest in the project.
The expert said the EU “should play a bigger role and be more emphatic and more assertive about that.” And then, probably, the idea of a gas pipeline will materialize in the next decade.
The support of the Trans-Caspian project by Brussels in the light of the desire to diversify gas supply sources was mentioned in an interview with Trend by Francis Perrin, Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS, Rabat) and at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.
“It would be part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is being developed with the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The route constituted by the SCP, TANAP and TAP will allow the EU to begin importing gas from Azerbaijan from 2020 onwards and it is in the strategic and economic interests of the EU to go on developing the Southern gas Corridor. The EU is ready to bring some financial contribution and some international financial institutions and several Western companies are also interested in this project,” the expert on energy issues explained.
And according to Perrin, the project requires very strong alliance between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the EU.
Today, Turkmenistan produces over 70 billion cubic meters of gas per year, or 2% of the global production. The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline would potentially supply up to 30 billion cubic meters of Turkmen "blue fuel" towards Europe.
Meanwhile, is it enough just positive expert assessments and recurring statements from European business about the interest in the project in order to stretch a gas pipe between the Eastern and Western shores of the Caspian sea?
President Berdymuhamedov has repeatedly quite fairly and clearly outlined the position of Turkmenistan on this issue. In February this year, during a conversation on the shores of the lake "Altyn Asyr" with the Charge d'Affaires of the European Union in Turkmenistan Lubomir Frebort, the Turkmen leader said: "Its (Trans-Caspian pipeline) implementation requires, first of all, determining the route of laying the gas pipeline, the scope of work, deadlines, etc. Only if the participants in the project decide on a complex of organizational, legal, commercial, technical and other issues, can we speak in more detail on this topic."