Turkmenistan remains a key natural gas holder in the center of Eurasia, an area, which has long failed to realize its huge potential due to geopolitical developments and economic changes.
The total natural gas reserves of Turkmenistan are estimated at 50.4 trillion cubic meters.
As many as 19 oil and gas-oil and 65 gas fields were identified in Turkmenistan so far.
After the UK’s Gaffney, Cline & Associates carried out an independent appraisal of reserves and resources of natural gas at the Galkynysh field, Turkmenistan ranked 4th in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves. As for the world’s second biggest gas field, Galkynysh, located in the eastern part of Turkmenistan, it is stated that this field is unique for its geological conditions.
The recently revised data shows that the reserves of Galkynysh and the nearby fields are estimated at 27.4 trillion cubic meters. Of them, 21.2 trillion cubic meters of gas account for Galkynysh, 5 trillion cubic meters account for Yashlar and 1.2 trillion cubic meters account for the nearby Garakel field.
Today, Turkmenistan is among the main suppliers of natural gas in the Central Asian region and is the largest supplier of natural gas to China. Turkmenistan earns much of its GDP from the natural gas extraction and export.
Turkmenistan does not border directly with huge markets such as Europe, China, or India, and depends on transiting gas through other countries. The Turkmen government’s preference is to route transportation through those countries with which it has no or the lowest possible degree of conflict.
Today the three main export routes of the country are Central Asia – Center Pipeline (CAS) to Russia, Central Asia – China pipeline (CACP) and two routes to Iran, which are Korpedzhe-Kurt Kui (KKK) and Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipelines.
Turkmenistan lost Russia as a customer a year ago, and has since provided gas only to China and Iran. The country’s relations with Iran were also seriously damaged by the gas dispute over Iran’s debts. China remains Turkmenistan’s biggest consumer.
The latest major export pipeline system built in Turkmenistan is the Central-Asia China Pipeline system (CACP). It is designed to use four lines (A, B, C and D) starting in Turkmenistan and passing through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before reaching China. A, B, and C are parallel pipelines. Line A and B became operational in 2009 and 2010 respectively while line C followed in 2014. Line D will go through a different route passing Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The different path for Line D is probably associated with a Chinese preference to avoid having all its lines run through Kazakhstan and, more importantly, to be able to import gas from Tajikistan, where CNPC is already negotiating exploration and production contracts.
Being the forth in the world for the volume of natural gas reserves, the country is considering the European market as one of the most promising areas of gas supply. (AzerNews/Business World Magazine)