Trans-Caspian: everyone is waiting for initiatives from Turkmenistan, but its authorities are not in a hurry at all

The problem of gas transportation is a key one for Turkmenistan. There is a lot of gas (4th place in the world, 7% of world reserves), but how to bring it to consumers?

At first, there was only one way – a gas pipeline to Russia, built back in the USSR. Now it is abandoned and there is also only one way — to China. Depending on a monopoly buyer is the worst option. For example, in 2009-10, due to disputes with Gazprom, the country found itself with zero exports and halved gas production volumes. Turkmenistan needs to diversify its supplies and dramatically increase them.

The way to Europe is perfect — there the demand for gas will be very high for a long time.

In 2018, the dispute over the status of the Caspian Sea was resolved and there were no legal obstacles to the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. 4 years have passed — but who is still there?

A year ago, the dispute with Azerbaijan over oil and gas deposits in the Caspian Sea was resolved. Nothing else prevents you from actively moving forward. The gas crisis in Europe directly pushes and simplifies this solution. But the Turkmen authorities are still not doing anything.

It got to the point that this year the heads of Turkey and Azerbaijan directly pushed Turkmenistan to take up this project. As if that’s what they need the most.

And so it happened. Finally, for the first time, the Turkmen authorities said something intelligible about the Trans-Caspian. The Deputy Prime Minister of the country said at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi that the country hopes to build a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline through Azerbaijan to Europe:

  • Capacity: up to 30 billion cubic meters;
  • Cost: $5 billion;
  • Length: 300 km.

It seems that things have moved on. The volumes are too small, they would have to be increased to the volume of projected supplies to China (with the fourth line — about 60 billion cubic meters) if the capacity of the existing gas transmission system in Azerbaijan allows it. If not, think about their expansion project.

The key issue is the search for real investors and mutually beneficial agreements with them. The Turkmen authorities, as always, passively wait for someone to come to them and offer something.

But there is an even more complicated issue on our agenda – the TAPI gas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, with a capacity of over 30 billion cubic meters. An active search for investors and solutions is needed everywhere, which the authorities of Turkmenistan have not learned to do in 30 years of independence…