Turkmenistan, France Discuss TransCaspian Flows
Turkmenistan's foreign minister Rashid Meredov has discussed the possibility of exporting gas from the central Asian republic to Europe through the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan with the French ambassador Patrick Pascal, according to Turkmen media. During the conversation the sides expressed interest in expanding diplomatic contacts between the two countries.
“The implementation of the pipeline project and gas export from the Turkmen fields to the EU member-states is a priority for both countries. The project to lay the pipeline to Europe via the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan is also under consideration,” according to press reports.
They said the French company Total could be among the companies developing Turkmenistan’s energy resources and transporting them to the EU member-states and its representatives have been negotiating with the government. Another energy company Engie is also showing interest in the projects. However so far the autocratic president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has only allowed Chinese companies to develop the biggest onshore fields in deals linked to favourable financing agreements.
President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov
The five states bordering the Caspian Sea have not unanimously agreed that a gas pipeline may cross it from side to side, a situation that suits two of them, Russia and Iran, as it helps to isolate Europe from Turkmenistan, another littoral state. Plans to export gas westwards by pipeline or by tanks of compressed natural gas have not got beyond the technical phase, although gas production platforms in the sea could be linked together, bringing Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan, if Azerbaijan agreed. Azerbaijan has a lot of undeveloped gas of its own however which is also looking for a market.