Turkey, Turkmenistan seek to amplify energy cooperation
"Trying to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas, Europe wants Turkmen gas supplies more than ever," said Guner Ozkan, Caucasus and Caspian regions expert at the Ankara-based think-tank USAK
By E. Gurkan Abay
The long-term goal of strengthening energy cooperation between Turkey and Turkmenistan is an important message to the world, experts say in relation to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguli Berdimuhammedov’s statements Tuesday.
"Trying to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas, Europe wants Turkmen gas supplies more than ever," said Guner Ozkan, Caucasus and Caspian regions expert at the Ankara-based think-tank International Strategic Research Organization told the Anadolu Agency in an interview.
Ozkan underlined that a pipeline through the Caspian Sea or Iran, to reach Europe through Turkey are the two most "rational" routes for Turkmenistan which has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world.
He emphasized that the recent easing of sanctions against Iran by Western powers also provide a more comfortable energy trading environment between Turkey, Iran and the Central Asian countries.
However, Ozkan pointed out that Russia is the strongest player in the Caspian region and it would be wrong to believe that Russia would not "intervene" in a project that will go through the Caspian and reach Europe to supply an alternative to Russian gas.
"The recent $400 billion agreement between Russia and China, will soften up Turkmenistan’s gas price negotiations with China," Ozkan said, adding, "Turkmenistan needs alternative markets as well and reaching Europe through Turkey is imperative from this perspective."
Turkmenistan is currently China’s largest natural gas supplier. The country produces around 80 billion cubic metres of gas every year, currently the majority of which goes to China (52 percent), Russia (24 percent), Iran (22 percent) and other former Soviet Union countries (2 percent).
Ozkan underlined that the biggest obstacle in the cooperation between Turkey and Turkmenistan is the question of going through the Caspian Sea, as well as the political issues between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the sharing of Caspian territories.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.