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NEW GAS EXPORT STRATEGIES (Iran)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

Thu, Dec 04, 2008

by Majid Karimi

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE IRAN DAILY’

The trilateral meeting between the leaders of Turkmenistan, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan was held at It is difficult to predict the final stance of Turkmenistan toward the Nabucco pipeline, as nothing official has yet been made public.Turkmanbashi, Turkmenistan, on Friday.

Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov, Abdullah Gul and Elham Aliev respectively discussed cooperation in the field of energy.

The meeting followed Berdymuhammedov’s visit to Germany and Austria, and negotiations for exporting gas to Europe. Of course, he has not made explicit comments regarding exports of gas to Europe via Nabucco or the trans-Caspian project.

The trans-Caspian project has not yet materialized due to ambiguities surrounding the Caspian legal regime, rift between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over a gas field and environmental problems.

Diversification

After the Turkmanbashi meeting, Financial Times reported Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have reached an agreement about new strategies for exporting the Caspian Sea energy to consumer markets to curb the dependency of European states on Russian gas.

Based on this report, the European Union (EU) and the US have urged Turkmenistan to join the Nabucco pipeline project for transporting gas via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

After meeting his Azeri counterpart, Berdymuhammedov said, “Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, which are rich in hydrocarbon resources, have reached an agreement on diversifying the export routes for energy to the global markets.“

He emphasized that his country is keen on participating in the Nabucco pipeline project, but is under pressure for exporting its gas via Russia, which is the main market for Turkmen gas.

“Turkmenistan has signed a contract for supplying gas to China via the pipeline which is presently under construction,“ he said.

On the threshold of this trilateral meeting, Berdymuhammedov visited Germany and Austria during Nov. 13-19. In these visits, issues pertaining to the transport of Caspian Sea gas bypassing Russia were examined.

Manager of Azerbaijan’s Oil Projects Research Center Ilham Shaban noted that negotiations between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan hints at more extensive cooperation among them in the energy sector than the Nabucco project alone.

Future meetings are not expected to focus on the gas project for building a pipeline through the Caspian seabed because at the presidential level, projects in their preliminary stages are not examined.

“So far, a few meetings have been held between representatives of Turkey and Turkmenistan in which the import of electricity and transport of gas via Iran were discussed. But, the last case did not materialize,“ he said.

The Azeri official noted that till now, no trilateral meeting was held between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.

“I should mention a similar case regarding how things proceeded regarding energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Since November 2002, negotiations took place between Baku and Astaneh at different levels. This eventually led to an intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan regarding oil transport via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Hence, the meeting in Turkmenistan is another step to this end,“ he said.

Since the Commonwealth of Independent States gained their independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has had good economic ties with Turkmenistan and Turkey.

“I personally believe that in future negotiations between the presidents of these countries, more issues will be examined,“ he said.

Shaban further said it is difficult to predict the final stance of Turkmenistan toward the Nabucco pipeline, as nothing official has yet been made public, except a communiquŽ expressing Turkmenistan’s desire to diversify its gas supply.

“Interestingly enough, it has been mentioned that gas will be transported to China from fields located above Amudarya, from northern Dolatabad to Russia via the pipeline alongside the Caspian Sea and whatever is found in the western part of Turkmenistan will be transported to the West,“ he said.

It seems that Turkmenistan has determined, after 17 years of independence, where and how gas should be transported in a viable manner.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE IRAN DAILY’

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