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Turkmen President, EU Representative Discuss Partnership

By Parto Jamshidi May 8, 2022

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Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and EU Special Representative for Central Asia Terhi Hakala discussed the expansion of the partnership at a meeting in Ashgabat, on May 4, 2022. / Turkmenistan Today

Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and EU Special Representative for Central Asia Terhi Hakala have discussed the expansion of a “fruitful partnership.”

During the meeting with the visiting EU representative, Berdimuhamedow expressed satisfaction with the desire of the sides “to continue contributing to the strengthening and expansion of a fruitful partnership,” the state news agency Turkmenistan Today reported on May 4.

The president noted that the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation with the European community remains one of the key areas of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy strategy aimed at broad international cooperation in the name of common interests. 

President Berdimuhamedow also expressed confidence that Hakala’s visit would further strengthen the relations between Turkmenistan and the European Union and provide a new stimulus for the development of a constructive dialogue.

The sides voiced their readiness to search for effective forms and new areas of partnership, as well as its intensification in the political, economic, humanitarian, and environmental spheres.

As relations with Russia worsen, European countries are trying to switch to the gas resources of Turkmenistan to ensure their energy security. As a result, both Ashgabat and the EU are keen on a gas deal - Turkmenistan wants to diversify its energy export, while the EU wants to diversify its energy imports.

Russia currently supplies about a third part of Europe’s gas needs. However, the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine gives an additional impetus for the EU to search for gas from alternative sources.

The total natural gas reserves in Turkmenistan are estimated at 50 trillion cubic meters. Possible route for Turkmenistan to ship its gas via Turkiye to Europe may go through Azerbaijan. To make this happen, Ashgabat needs to construct a 300-km pipeline segment under the Caspian Sea to link to the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

In November 2014, Turkmenistan signed a framework agreement with Turkiye to supply its gas to the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP), which now receives gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea.

Turkmenistan has reportedly been in discussions with Azerbaijan, Turkiye, Georgia, and the European Union concerning the possibility of building a gas pipeline with a capacity of 10 to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The project developed by Trans Caspian Resources company will make it possible to arrange the supply of Turkmen natural gas to Azerbaijan and further to Turkey and other countries, including the now energy-short EU.

In 2021, Trans Caspian Resources presented its project of the Trans-Caspian Interconnector, a smaller gas pipeline (compared to the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline) from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan. Once completed, it will supply 10-12 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. 

According to preliminary estimates, the construction of the Trans-Caspian Interconnector will take about four months and will require $400 million in investments. The project will be implemented based on the infrastructure already available in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan’s segments in the Caspian Sea.