All Over the Globe


New Geopolitics Surrounding Turkmen Gas

Picture and background around Tractebel

In this year the geopolitical situation changed dramatically in Central Asia. Anyhow, it became apparent in this year. One of the most important aspects if the energy problem in this region is the fate of the Turkmen pipeline.

In the mid January the quadripartite negotiations between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the U.S.A. regarding construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline came to grief.

The point is that in summer 1999 Azerbaijan disclosed the biggest gas deposit Shah-Deniz and will soon be able to supply gas to Turkey independently. At the Ashgabad negotiations Azerbaijan demanded 50% quota on transportation of gas to Turkey, which comes to 15 to 20 billion cubic meters of gas.

Obviously, Turkmenistan is absolutely displeased with this variant, as it is completely responsible for filling of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. In fact, the U.S.A. supported Azerbaijan. This helped Stratfor experts to conclude that the U.S.A. is making choice in Central Asia. Evidently, for Turkmenistan the route to Russia and further to Turkey is maybe, the only option. Moreover, Russia is ready to buy this gas.

Right after the Ashgabad Summit President Niyazov announced that he would hold negotiations. Considering Russian media, he managed to negotiate with the Russia�s leader Vladimir Putin. Russia is ready to buy 20 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas in this year. This is connected with the fact that the production of gas is reduced in Russia, but according to its obligations, the country is to supply a definite volume of gas to Europe. Hence, it needs Turkmen gas.

In the end of the last week, however, it was supposed that Washington would manage to save the Trans-Caspian pipeline project.

A great chance for Turkmenistan turns out to be a tidbit for owners of the Kazakhstani gas pipeline Central Asia � the Center built in the Soviet period. We think that this is the main part of business in Kazakhstan in this year.

The scandal surrounding the gas concessions has even made waves amongst European and Russian media.

THE GLOBE also tries to show cards in this situation.. Today we propose you a number of articles devoted to this topic: our material about possible fight between Alexander Mashkevich and Bulat Utemuratov; the article from Rossiskaya Gazeta seriously criticizing Utemuratov; the article about the US position in Central Asia by Stratfor; the article by Michael Lelyveld about the Russia�s demand for Turkmen gas; the material by France-press about that some supporters of the project remain confident that it will be realized despite the Ashgabad meeting failed and Turkmenistan successfully negotiates with Russia.

(Read in full, p. 4-5)

All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
© 1998 IPA House. All Rights Reserved.