Energy-rich Turkmenistan is looking to lure foreign investment into its oil and gas industries at the Oil and Gas Turkmenistan international conference in Ashgabat held this week.
The two-day business forum, which kicked off Tuesday at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan, has brought together the world’s leading oil and gas companies to explore ways to expand and strengthen international partnerships with state organizations.
“Possessing immense natural resources, our country enjoys very high credibility in the world as a major producer of energy resources and a reliable partner,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said in his opening speech on Tuesday, according to reports by Turkmenportal.
Organized by state-owned Turkmennebit and Turkmen Forum company, the conference has addressed topics such as the development of global trends in Turkmenistan’s fuel and energy sector, as well as the status of key projects in the country’s oil and gas sector, which are currently being implemented, particularly the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) mega-gas pipeline project.
“Sustainable economic growth in Turkmenistan opens up great opportunities for all parties interested in mutually beneficial partnerships, and increases investment attractiveness,” Berdimuhamedow stressed in his speech.
“A large-scale work is being carried out in the country to increase the volumes of oil and gas production and processing, to increase the production of oil and gas products, which are in great demand in the world market.”
In September, Berdimuhamedow ordered the government to accelerate the construction of the oft-delayed TAPI gas pipeline, which, once completed, is expected to supply about 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field to western and southern territories of Afghanistan, as well as central Pakistan and northwestern parts of India.
Addressing the Turkmen Cabinet of Ministers, he underscored the role of the diversification and the creation of multi-vector pipeline systems as an important factor for the country’s energy security.
The construction of the $10 billion pipeline, which began in Turkmenistan in 2015 and has been designed for a 30-year period, was scheduled for completion sometime this year. But the project’s completion has been pushed back until 2020.
The main sponsor of TAPI is the Asian Development Bank. Given the security difficulties in Afghanistan, along with financing and logistical challenges, it is not clear when a final investment decision might be taken and when the project will truly be completed.
As Turkmenistan’s wealth is primarily derived from hydrocarbon exports, authorities in Ashgabat aim to boost gas production rates and expand volumes of refined hydrocarbons, thus boosting exports of oil and gas.
China is the main buyer of Turkmenistan’s gas, receiving it through the Central Asia-China pipeline, which passes through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In 2017, Turkmenistani gas exports to China reached about 33.6 bcm.