Turkmenistan as an energy power with the world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves is a significant player in the world energy market, and taking into account its economic situation, existing and emerging trends is of great importance for ensuring the stability of the national economy.
Predictive-analytic investigations and statistical reviews of major oil and gas companies such as BP outline the global energy landscape of the future. They show that constant changes in energy markets are the norm, that demand for energy resources is closely linked to economic growth, and emphasize the role of proper management of natural resources in terms of profit.
Particular attention is paid to the problem of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and the tendency to switch to more environmentally friendly energy sources, which inevitably leads to a change in the energy mix.
According to experts, the overall growth in energy demand is a global legitimacy. According to the forecast of global energy development until 2035, prepared earlier by BP experts, global demand for energy resources from 2013 to 2035 was expected to increase by 37%, or an average of 1.4% per year.
However, new realities and challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic that has engulfed the world, the trade war between the world’s leading powers, and general geopolitical instability are making their own adjustments to such forecasts, throwing economies into recession and consequently reducing demand for energy.
Slowing economic growth leads to a drop in demand and prices for oil, which is an important component of the global energy environment. Increasingly, the question is raised as to how important this component is, and the most radical experts even predict the end of the oil era after 2030.
So, analysts of the French oil and gas company Total are confident that the world will gradually switch to more environmentally friendly energy sources, in particular natural gas. The company believes that this type of fuel will play a key role in the global market. Demand for electricity will also increase significantly by 2050. It will cover up to 40% of humanity’s energy needs. Currently, its share is about 20%. Total intends to invest in solar and wind energy, as well as in the engineering accumulators and networks of charging stations for cars.
Changes in the fuel mix or energy balance of various types of energy carriers are also noted by BP experts, who believe that the fastest growing demand will be for gas as the cleanest fossil fuel, and along with the export of pipeline gas, LNG supplies will grow. Taking these trends into account, leading oil and gas companies are adjusting their investment policies, increasing the share of projects focused on natural gas in the investment portfolio.
In this light, the significance of Turkmenistan’s major energy projects, such as TAPI, is particularly evident. According to one of the participants of last year’s International Gas Congress, it is the best example of the country using its hydrocarbon reserves for the benefit of peace and sustainable development of neighboring regions.
The implementation of this mega-project has recently seen significant progress. Construction and installation works on its Turkmen section are in the final stage. On September 30, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a package of important joint documents related to the implementation of projects for the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, power lines, and the laying of fiber-optic cable along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) route.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Turkmengaz State Concern, TAPI Pipeline Limited and Afgan Gaz Enterprise on the creation and development of the natural gas market in Afghanistan. The Memorandum of Cooperation signed by Turkmenaragatnashyk Agency and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Afghanistan. Turkmentelecom State Enterprise and Afghan Wireless communications company signed an Agreement on connecting fiber-optic cable at the border sections of Serkhetabat-Turgundy and Imamnazar-Akina in order to organize international transit traffic. It was also concluded an Agreement to purchase electricity in Afghanistan as part of the TAP project.
As mentioned at the signing ceremony, which was held in format of video conference between Ashgabat and Kabul, with the participation of the Afghan leader Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, government representatives and relevant agencies of the two countries, international companies, it is a very important step forward in the future supplies of natural gas and electricity from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and through Afghanistan to South Asia. The implementation of such large-scale and long-term projects will undoubtedly have great geo-economic and geopolitical significance for the entire Eurasian continent.
Issues related to the implementation of the TAPI transnational gas pipeline project were also discussed during a telephone conversation between President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of Pakistan Arif Alvi on September 18. The Turkmen leader expressed hope that with the assistance and support of his Pakistani counterpart, construction of the gas pipeline will soon begin on the territory of Pakistan.
The President of Pakistan called the talks with his Turkmen counterpart “very substantive”, and the followed steps became quite concrete. According to The News Pakistani Newspaper, on the same day, there were held talks in Islamabad between the special assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum, Nadeem Babar, and the Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman of TAPI Pipeline Company Ltd, Mukhammetmyrat Amanov.
Along with the increase in oil and gas production and the creation of a multi-variant system for transporting Turkmen energy resources to world markets, Turkmenistan is increasingly focusing on its processing into products with high added value, creating a production infrastructure based on the latest technologies.
Huge reserves of hydrocarbons allow us to successfully develop the petrochemical, gas-chemical and chemical industries, as well as the electric power industry. Among the most priority vectors for further development of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan is the creation of large-scale production facilities for the production of polymers, which are the main component for the production of hundreds of types of products used in industry, construction, transport, agriculture, as well as a wide range of household goods.
One of these innovative productions is the industrial production of gasoline from natural gas in Ovadandepe based on GTL technology (Gas To Liquids). The company’s products – gasoline, refined diesel fuel and liquefied gas that meet the highest environmental requirements – are intended for both the domestic market and export.
According to research, the use of this fuel reduces harmful emissions of sulfur oxide by 50 times, nitrogen oxide – by 5 times, carbon monoxide – by 2 times, and hydrocarbon – by up to 20%. Experts note that ECO-93 synthetic gasoline, which meets the Euro-5 environmental standard, spares not only nature, but also automotive equipment. The use of this fuel reduces the formation of carbon deposits in engines, which extends their service life twofold. No wonder that it is in high demand abroad.
As reported by ORIENT, Turkmenistan exported 5.6 million liters of gasoline to Uzbekistan as of September 1 this year, becoming the third supplier of this fuel to the Uzbek market after Kazakhstan and Russia. According to Uzbek media reports, this year ECO-93 gasoline from Turkmenistan started to be offered on the Uzbek Republican commodity exchange for the first time.
In general, according to the State Statistics Committee of Turkmenistan, in January-August 2020, the country exported abroad more than 143 thousand tons of synthetic gasoline produced from natural gas. And the customs officers of the Akhal region, where ECO-93 is exported from, record the export of this fuel to Russia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria and Denmark.
The production of liquefied gas is growing at a faster pace, which during the first eight months of this year amounted to 121.8% and electricity – 114.5%.
In addition to modern gas-turbine power plants that are being built in all the provinces of Turkmenistan, the Mary HPP operates a combined gas-vapor power plant with an increased efficiency coefficient while reducing the amount of combustion products released into the atmosphere by 2-3 times.
The power plant is fully computerized, which provides effective control of the entire process from the control center. Environmental friendliness of new electrical facilities in Turkmenistan has been repeatedly confirmed by foreign experts.
Thus, the complex of facilities that provide reliable power supply to the Turkmen capital has been awarded several international certificates, including the Certificate of Trust, the Environmental Safety Organization (USA) “For a project that has a positive impact on the environment”.
In addition to huge hydrocarbon reserves, Turkmenistan has significant resource and scientific potential for the development of alternative energy sources. Turkmen scientists have experience in successfully developing autonomous solar-wind systems that can supply with water and energy remote pastures in desert conditions throughout the year.
Issues of rational use of non-traditional types of energy are given attention and supported at the state level. Young scientists of the country are guided to implement projects related to the use of solar, wind, water, heat and biogas, the production of high-tech, environmentally friendly products, the creation of technologies for obtaining building materials and silicon from local raw materials.
At the same time, attention is paid to energy conservation issues, including through participation in international projects.
Thus, Turkmenistan not only fits into the energy landscape of the future, but also actively participates in its formation today. The country’s international initiatives aimed at consolidating the efforts of producers, transporters and consumers of energy resources in creating a safe and fair global energy architecture are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.