Turkmenistan: EU continues push for Trans-Caspian Pipeline

An EU Diplomat in Ashgabat, Denis Daniilidis has continued an initiative handed down from Brussels to push to restart talks on the Trans-Caspian pipeline, which would transport natural gas from fields in Turkmenistan across to Azerbaijan and then Turkey. The project has been stalling for years due to political, ecological, and financial uncertainties. The volume of this project to the East European natural gas market is reported to be 10 – 30 billion cubic metres of gas per annum.

This is a new development in a series of longstanding negotiations in the region. Turkmenistan and Turkey have signed an agreement in the past six months called TANAP (Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline) that will take offshore gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II in the Caspian Sea and will require Turkmenistan to build its own undersea pipeline through an area whose territorial borders are still in contention.

However, the next meeting of the Caspian littoral states at some point this year has been predicted to “resolve” the territorial issue once and for all, and at last allow development of international projects such as the Trans-Caspian pipeline. Other areas of suspicion remain – not the least of which is Turkmenistan’s proved natural gas reserves that have not already been sold to China, as well as the lack of technology without a consortium of international oil and gas developers to construct the undersea pipeline.

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