As long Turkmen officials keep silence on the issues related to organizing the delivery of Turkmen gas to Europe, as more Europeans themselves speak loud about it.
The International Conference “Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan – 2019”, held in Ashgabat a few days ago, was no exception. In their speeches, top managers of the Turkmen oil and gas complex did not mention the Europe as a potential buyer of Turkmen gas. However, the forum participants representing European companies filled a want.
Alexander Huurdeman, Senior Oil and Gas Expert at the World Bank, and Erlendas Grigorovich, representative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, reminded the hosts and guests of the conference that the EU, as always, explores new directions of cooperation with Turkmen side to supply gas to Europe.
The Russian expert community, of course, noticed such European perseverance, and its reaction was appropriate. A series of materials on the failure of Europeans to catch Turkmen natural gas through both the Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline were published.
Among these materials, there is an interesting article “Europe desires to find a worthy tamer of Gazprom in Ashgabat,” published on the Free Press website.
As a rule, when it comes to export of the Turkmen natural gas to the EU, the Russian expert community casts doubt on existence of sufficient gas volumes in Turkmenistan. Like, how you can deliver gas to Europe if you, most likely, do not have it?
That technique that as old as hills often used in polemics, when the main goal is not to reach the truth, but to create a certain public opinion.
The article under our consideration, published by the Free Press website, is differ from other articles on same topic. It seems the author of the article, Maria Bezchastnaya, decided to arrive at the truth. She cites the opinion of the director of the Energy Development Fund Sergey Pikin, who believes that the organization of Turkmen gas exports to the EU so far is a sort of hypothetical reasoning. At the same time, the expert admits that Europe is interested in diversifying its energy sources.
Pikin: The issue of Turkmen gas has been discussed for many years, but so far there are no transport routes for its delivery to Europe. Initially, the issue was discussed at the beginning of 90th, and then the connection of Turkmenistan to the TAP-TANAP gas pipelines was considered as an option. And still, it is unclear how to organize these deliveries.
Of course, theoretically it could be possible to arrange deliveries through Russia, for example, through swap contracts, but Gazprom is unlikely to do so.
Free Press: If Turkmenistan delivers its gas to Europe, what volumes could be arranged?
– Turkmenistan has enough capacities, and its gas reserves are vast. Unlike Azerbaijan. The construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline has been under discussion for so long since, as now, there is no confidence in the resource base that to be used by Azerbaijan. Therefore, other partners that can supply “blue fuel” are being considered. Including Turkmenistan.”
Pikin notes that deliveries from Turkmenistan through the South Gas Corridor to the EU are an important topic in diversifying energy sources.
“They (Europeans) are interested in other gas suppliers, excluding Gazprom. Although it is already happening, because the share of our company in the European market is about 35 percent. So, in terms of diversification, Europe is interested in Turkmen gas. The point is who would pay for all this, as well as the period of the implementation of this project, which so far is only in the plans,” the Russian expert says.
His point of view on a number of positions is very close with the assessments pointed out in the ORIENT articles on same topic. We also believe that Turkmenistan has a lot of natural gas and that Europeans would like to buy it to diversify their gas supply. We even agree with the expert that when and how this will happen is unknown.