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Turkmen State Gas Company to Boost Output

By Nigar Bayramli March 20, 2024

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Turkmenistan and the EU signed the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in the building of the EU Council in Brussels, Belgium, on March 18, 2024. / MFA Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s national gas company, Turkmengaz, is preparing to increase natural gas production in the country, President Serdar Berdimuhamedow announced at a regular meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on March 15.

"The state concern Turkmengaz has drawn up an action plan to obtain additional volumes of gas as soon as possible. It is about starting to drill development wells and providing necessary equipment to construct them," Berdimuhamedow said, according to Orient.tm report.

He added that “with the help of special equipment, Turkmengaz had already received first sulfur-free gas influxes, and work is underway to increase production at the largest Galkynysh field".

Berdimuhamedow noted the importance of the work undertaken by Turkmengaz to increase the production and gave specific instructions to the deputy prime minister in order to increase hydrocarbon production.

Addressing the meeting, Batyr Amanov, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of oil and gas sector, said that Turkmengaz is carrying out “targeted work” to increase the volume of natural gas production.

Turkmengaz is focusing specifically on ramping up the output of sulfur-free gas, which is less corrosive and consequently more straightforward to transport and store.

On the subject of gas transportation, the exasperating pace of progress on the trans-Afghan TAPI pipeline came up again past week, when India’s recently appointed ambassador in Ashgabat, Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, reasserted her government’s active interest in the project, saying that “we hope that this project will be implemented very soon”.

According to Muhammetmyrat Amanov, Chief Executive of the Ashgabat-based TAPI Pipeline Limited Corporation, Turkmenistan is working with the Taliban-run government on “implementation of a strategy for the construction of a 150-kilometer section of the (trans-Afghan TAPI) gas pipeline” to Herat.

Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most energy-rich nations, possesses substantial oil and natural gas reserves thanks to its giant Galkanysh gas field. It ranks fourth globally in terms of proven gas reserves, following Russia, Iran, and Qatar. Currently, Turkmenistan mainly exports gas to China and Russia. Turkmenistan produced 80.6 billion cubic meters of gas in 2023, a 2.9 percent increase on the previous year.

Turkmenistan also proposed to construct a 300-km-long undersea Trans-Caspian gas pipeline bypassing Russia. If built, it would transport about 32 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea to solve Europe's energy problems, decreasing its dependence on Russian gas supplies.

The EU is counting on Turkmen gas supplies via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Türkiye to provide energy security to the continent, which has been dependent on Russia.

On March 18, Turkmenistan and the EU signed the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in the presence of Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the EU Willem van de Voorde, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia Terhi Hakala, and the Chief Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of the European Council Simon Mordue at the European Union Council building in Brussels, Belgium.

The PCA, signed in 1998, was awaiting ratification by the European Parliament. Since then, bilateral relations have been governed by a temporary trade agreement. In 2015, a declaration on energy cooperation highlighting the Trans-Caspian project between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Türkiye and the EU was signed in Ashgabat.

During the recent meeting, the parties also stated their interest in continuing cooperation in the field of green energy, transport, and technological interconnection.

In a meeting with the vice president for policy and partnerships at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), on March 14, President Berdimuhamedow supported the idea of the EBRD getting involved in sustainable energy and transportation projects in Turkmenistan.

The Turkmen government recently invited the Austrian business community to participate in the development of oil and gas deposits in the country's section of the Caspian Sea. The invitation was made by the Turkmen delegation that had been on a working visit to Vienna on 10-12 March to meet government officials, representatives of international organisations and businessmen.

At a meeting with the Austrian business community, the Turkmen delegation led by the foreign minister, reaffirmed their commitment to building a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to supply natural gas to Europe, saying that "a systematic partnership with the European Union has already been established in this area".