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    Lost in Translation



An article originally published in EurasiaNet.org puts a different spin on recent statements attributed to Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, President of...

by: M_Davies

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Nabucco/Nabucco West Pipeline, Natural Gas & LNG News, News By Country, Pipelines, ,

Lost in Translation

An article originally published in EurasiaNet.org puts a different spin on recent statements attributed to Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, President of Turkmenistan, during his visit to Istanbul to attend the Turkic Summit.

Berdymukhammedov apparently made favorable comments towards the Nabucco pipeline project; the first time that that Turkmenistan has given any indication that it may participate in the project.

The article in EurasiaNet disagrees:

While in Istanbul, President Berdymukhamedov made his most forthright statements to date regarding the prospects for Turkmenistan to join the Nabucco pipeline. Answering a reporter's query, the Turkmen leader said "Turkmenistan does not doubt the real prospect of implementing various projects to export gas in any direction, including to Europe through Nabucco." In the past, while speaking more vaguely about "diversifying export routes," President Berdymukhamedov had refrained from explicitly tying his plans to the $7.9 million euro Western-backed pipeline designed to avoid dependence on Russia, and reiterated that Turkmenistan would "sell its gas at the border."

In a report of the Turkmen president's remarks in Istanbul, trend.az portrayed him as deliberately linking Turkmenistan’s resources and internal pipelines to the West: "We are currently constructing the East-West pipeline,” he said. “The pipeline will be laid along the coast of the Caspian Sea. There is also Nabucco, which is associated with the project," he added. The statements were picked up enthusiastically by Western and international gas industry publications, but scorned by Russian analysts, who dismissed them as merely a bargaining ploy to get a better deal on the price of gas from Russia.

Yet in the official account of his speech in articles in both English and Russian on the government's website, produced by the State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH), President Berdymukhamedov does not appear to mention the $2 billion East-West pipeline at all, nor does he explicitly link Nabucco to any internal Turkmenistan project. Instead, he is shown giving a nod to Nabucco, then answering the reporter's question more generally by indicating that Turkmenistan has enough supplies for all potential customers, based on the 2008 audit by Gaffney, Cline & Associations of the South Yolotan and Yashlar fields, where reserves were estimated at 18 trillion cubic meters.

The article also has a different take on the issue of the long standing dispute between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the Caspian sea-bed:

International press also portrayed President Berdymukhamedov as making some progress on a long-standing dispute with Azerbaijan over the demarcation of their borders in the Caspian Sea bed. President Ilham Aliyev appeared together with the Turkmen leader in Istanbul, sounding upbeat on progress. But in fact, President Berdymukhamedov did not say anything he hasn't repeated many times, advocating a solution that is "consistent with international norms" and "mutually beneficial.”

The differing views show precisely why many a commentator make a career from deciphering what politicians really mean when they speak.

Read the Full Article at EurasiaNet.org