Turkmenistan plans to start key gasfield
Ashkabad, November 16, 2012
Turkmenistan plans to begin production at the world's second-largest gasfield next year, a senior Turkmen official said, opening up new EU- and US-backed supply routes to Europe and Asia at the risk of Russian opposition.
The Central Asian nation plans to build two pipelines to carry gas from the Galkynysh field. One would run to Pakistan and India and the other would cross the Caspian Sea en route to the European Union, easing the bloc's dependence on Russian gas.
"Right now, three gas-processing plants are being built, and two of them are certain to be ready in January or February," the government official said on the sidelines of an energy conference.
Turkmenistan's natural gas reserves rank fourth in the world behind those of Russia, Iran and Qatar, BP data shows. Auditor Gaffney, Cline & Associates has estimated reserves at Galkynysh at between 13.1 trillion and 21.2trn cubic metres.
The field, named after the Turkmen word for renaissance, is better known by its previous title, South Iolotan.
It is being developed under a service contract by China's CNPC, Dubai-based Gulf Oil & Gas, London-listed Petrofac and a Korean consortium of LG International Corporation and Hyundai Engineering Company.
Western energy majors, frustrated by Turkmenistan's apparent reticence to open up its prized onshore gas deposits, have cast doubts over the country's ability to finance and operate such a field without foreign investment.
Douglas Uchikura, president of Chevron Nebitgaz, the local unit of Chevron Corporation, estimated the investment required by Turkmenistan to triple natural gas output by 2030 in the "tens of billions of dollars".
"It would seem that Turkmenistan would welcome long-term, large-scale foreign direct investment in light of what could otherwise become a daunting, if not impossible, task," Uchikura said yesterday.-Reuters
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