Is Turkmen Gas Preparing To Be Sent to Europe?
10 August 2017 (Nebit-Gaz: “Electronic newspaper of the Turkmen oil and gas complex”)
The Turkmenistan Oil and Gas Ministry, in an unsigned editorial in its electronic newspaper Nebit-Gaz, commented on an article by Elmira Tariverdieva, head of the Russian-language service of the Azerbaijani press agency Trend, writing that Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who is on an official visit to Baku, at a joint meeting for the press with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, “announced plans to expand cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.” The Turkmen ministry’s editorial continued:
“[Tariverdieva] quotes the words of the Turkmen leader that the two countries are using all opportunities to implement joint new projects in order to diversify energy and transport flows.
“One of the important projects that would allow diversifying energy flows from Turkmenistan could be the Trans-Caspian pipeline, through which Turkmen gas will go to Europe through the territory of Azerbaijan and Turkey, the publication [Trend] notes.
“According to E. Tariverdieva, today’s geopolitical situation in the region makes diversification of Turkmen gas supplies a necessary element of the country’s economic security.
“The Trans-Caspian [Pipeline], according to the author, is a project that is equally beneficial for Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, [between which two,] despite a lot of speculation …, there is no competition.
“The publication says that the gas … already has its specific buyers and contracts have been signed for it for many years to come. Turkmen gas can help the ‘Southern Gas Corridor’ become more ambitious, and therefore more profitable, which is of paramount importance for the energy security of Europe.” (Russian text here.)
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Note Importance of Energy Cooperation in European Direction
09 August 2017 (Interfax)
“Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan note the importance of expanding cooperation in the field of energy supplies aimed at diversifying routes from the Caspian region to the world and European markets, the ‘Declaration on Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries says. The text of the document signed last Tuesday in Baku by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Ilham Aliyev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was published in the Turkmen media. …
“In addition, according to the official website of the Azerbaijani President, the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the two countries on further development of cooperation in the energy sphere was also included in the package of documents signed during the visit of G. Berdimuhamedov to Baku. …
“Currently, Ashgabat is intensifying cooperation with Baku in the field of energy both on a bilateral basis and in a wider format. Until the end of 2017 in Ashgabat, it is planned to hold a summit of the heads of state of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, at which issues of partnership, including in the fuel and energy sector, will be discussed.” (Russian text here.)
Presidents of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan Discuss Possibilities for Energy and Transport Cooperation
08 August 2017 (Turkmenistan State Information Agency)
“President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted the enormous potential and broad opportunities in … such strategic areas as energy and transport. In the sphere of international energy cooperation, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are in favor of creating a balanced multi-variant system of energy supplies to world markets based on diversification of routes for the transportation of energy resources, specific and precise schemes for their operation, guarantees for their reliability and security, and consideration for multilateral interests. …
“Stressing the huge potential for cooperation in the energy sector, the Azerbaijani leader stressed the importance of the Memorandum [of Understanding between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the further development of cooperation in the energy sector], designed to boost the mutually beneficial ties in this area.” (Russian text here.)
Turkmen Foreign Minister Discusses Pipeline Projects with Georgian Leaders
18 July 2017 (Civil Georgia)
“The President’s office reported after the meeting that the sides spoke on ‘the prospects of bilateral relations in the areas of trade, economy and energy, as well as on the development of the Lapis Lazuli Railroad and the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline projects and on cooperation between the Caspian and the Black Sea regions.’ The Prime Minister’s office said the discussion focused on bilateral and regional cooperation in transport and energy sectors, including through the White Stream project.”
Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič endorses Georgia’s role in extending the SGC to additional supply countries
14 July 2017 (EU Delegation to Georgia)
European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič visited Batumi to participate in the annual high-level conference “Georgia’s European Way” and mark signature of large scale EU-supported sustainable energy projects. The keynote speaker at the conference, he also held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Chairman of the Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze. Speaking ahead of the visit, Energy Union Vice President Maroš Šefčovič said:
“The EU-Georgia Association Agreement entails Georgia’s alignment to key EU energy legislation. In this regard, I welcome the recent ratification by the Georgian Parliament of the accession protocol to the Energy Community. This represents a major milestone for a proper and timely implementation of the commitments made under the Association Agreement and I encourage efforts to ensure a comprehensive implementation of commitments. Furthermore, Georgia has a key transit role to play in the opening of the Southern Gas Corridor. For the EU and Georgia the timely implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor is important as well as its extension over time to additional supply countries.“
Council of the European Union reaffirms goal of extending SGC into Central Asia
19 June 2017 (Council Document 10387/17) [PDF will open]
The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union transmitted to the Delegations, the “Outcome of Proceedings” on the subject of Council Conclusions on the EU strategy for Central Asia. (These Conclusions revised and extended the strategy adopted in May 2007.) Paragraph 9 of the Conclusions noted in particular:
“In the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors, the Council emphasises that cooperation between the EU and Central Asia should prioritise the integration of the Central Asian countries with each other and into international markets and transport corridors. The EU will continue to seek to extend the Southern Gas Corridor to Central Asia, and to further promote the EU’s multilateral and bilateral energy cooperation.”
“No Clash of Interests between Azerbaijan and Russia,” Declares Advisor to Georgian Prime Minister
02 June 2017 (haqqin.az)
Giorgi Vashakmadze, Advisor to the Georgian Prime Minster declared: “[T]he EU still needs to import gas from the fields of Azerbaijan and Central Asia [and] already has a special interest in the projects of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and the White Stream.” Turkmen gas can begin to flow into TANAP from the very beginning of the project’s work.
At the same time, there is no need to develop new deposits, invest large infrastructure investments. … “[I]t is expedient to implement projects with the lowest investment requirements, which require the maximum use of already existing gas-bearing deposits,” said Vashakmadze. According to him, the European Commission found the Azerbaijani projects optimal.
The Prime Minister’s advisor believes there will be no clashes of political interests with Russia over the export of Azerbaijani gas to central Europe. Said Vashakmadze: “Gas has ceased to be a political commodity through which it is possible to achieve some political goals. The European Commission has changed the legal rules of the game over the last five years.
“It is now impossible to exert pressure on a country by threatening to cut off gas supplies,” he continued. “Now Gazprom cares about keeping markets … Measures have also been taken to demonopolize Russian gas supplies to European markets[, and have been] comprehensive.” The struggle in Europe will be competitive, he said, “develop[ing] between Azerbaijani and Russian gas and, for example, liquefied gas from the United States. The whole issue is in competitiveness.” (Original Russian here.)
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili of Georgia at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
29 May 2017 (Official speech)
Addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and other dignitaries in attendance, welcoming them in Tbilisi on Georgia’s Independence Day, H.E Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia declared:
“Similarly, being a member of the Energy Charter and the Energy Community, Georgia has been reliable and responsible energy partner, which contributes to the diversified energy supply to the Western markets. The transnational projects like Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipelines, as well as TANAP and SCP, have significant implication for regional and European energy security. We are working intensively on the project of transporting gas from Turkmenistan to Europe, the White Stream project, which brings new opportunities for the diversification of Europe’s energy supply.“