Turkmenistan says can ship 10 bcm/yr via Nabucco

By Marat Gurt

https://i2.wp.com/www.stratfor.com/files/mmf/b/7/b7e4632ea8ee98145b0999a4a8055c880db1749e.jpgASHGABAT, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Turkmenistan is ready to export up to a third of natural gas required to fill the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline as soon as it comes on stream, a Turkmen government source told Reuters on Thursday.

Europe, seeking to ease its dependence on Russian gas, has long courted the gas-rich former Soviet republic as an alternative source of new energy.

Turkmenistan has long expressed willingness to supply Nabucco but has yet to take any real steps towards joining it.

“Obviously, we are ready to supply gas for Nabucco when it reaches us,” said a Turkmen government official who asked not to be named. “As early as next year, 10 bcm can be exported from the Turkmen Caspian shelf where Petronas is working.”

Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas [PETRA.UL] is developing a Turkmen offshore block and analysts say its installations are well positioned to connect to Azeri offshore rigs, allowing for the shortest connection to Nabucco.

But neither the EU nor Turkmenistan have taken any concrete steps to start building the link, although European energy officials say they would like to see Turkmen gas in Nabucco.

“We hope Turkmenistan will become one of the major suppliers of Nabucco,” Nabucco executive Johann Gallistl told an energy conference in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Thursday.

Russia used to be the main buyer of Turkmen gas, purchasing about 50 billion cubic metres a year, until April when supplies were halted due to a pricing dispute.

The row with Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) has pushed Turkmenistan towards the diversification of exports, analysts say, giving Ashgabat freedom to pursue routes that Moscow has in the past objected to.

Speaking at the same conference on Wednesday, Richard Jones, the deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, said its members, most of which are Western European nations, were keen to secure Turkmen supplies.

“Gas from the Caspian region in general and Turkmenistan in particular… will be very much needed in Europe,” Jones said.

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~ by abuaina on November 21, 2009.

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