Gas: Russia demands Turkemnistan's loyalty
Pressure on Ašgabat to shelve the development of the Trans-Caspian pipeline, which should supply the EU. Moscow wants Turkmen gas to go to Turkey via Iran. Turkmenistan is unlikely to be intimidated by the Kremlin.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The head of the Russian gas giant Gazprom, Aleksej Miller, has travelled to Ašgabat in Turkmenistan to meet with the two Berdymuhamedovs, father and son, who lead the country by exchanging roles. Putin's 'energy arm' warned the Turkmen presidential family that the trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which has been talked about in recent times, will in any case be blocked by Moscow.
The Telegram channel 'Look to the East', which can be traced back to Gazprom's top management, informed of the talks. It explains that Russia is proposing that Turkmenistan participate in gas supplies to Turkey via Iran. The Kremlin also invites Ašgabat to become a member of an oil consortium similar to Opec, which on Gazprom's initiative should unite Russia and Iran, prospectively also involving Qatar.
Miller's warnings are assessed as expressions of 'force politics', according to John Roberts, advisor to the US company Trans Caspian Resources. He urges people not to trust the flaunted Russian threats, considering the Turkmen's jealous protection of their independence. He reminds that 'the export of one's own gas in any direction is a sovereign right of every state, and the only objections against the Trans-Caspian pipeline are those concerning environmental protection'.
The expert reminds Azattyk that 'Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan observe all ecological standards in the Caspian Sea area', and the overbearance of the Russians has no basis in trying to limit the possibilities of other states. Moreover, it is no surprise that Russia is trying hard to block alternative gas export routes to the West, following sanctions due to the war in Ukraine.
Miller's proposal to exploit the Turkmen-Iranian route is justified by 'the opportunity not to create new facilities on the territory', exploiting those that already exist. However, Turkmenistan would not gain any real advantages, as it is interested in the large supplies it could offer the European Union. Turkey's exports would be limited to between 3 and 5 billion cubic metres per year, less than half of what it could bring to Europe. Moreover, Turkey itself could reject the Russians' offer, since the EU would not be willing to import the gas transported through Iran.
The Russians extol in various publications their leading role in gas reserves, which amount to 37,400 billion cubic metres, which they share with Iran, to which they attribute 32,100 billion cubic metres. The British Petroleum company estimates Turkmenistan's reserves at 19.5 trillion cubic metres. Control of gas is one of the Kremlin's most sensitive geopolitical weapons, and Russia is trying hard to confirm its influence over all the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia in this area.
In various publications, the Russians extol their leading role in gas reserves, which amount to 37,400 billion cubic metres, which they share with Iran, to which they attribute 32,100 billion cubic metres. The British Petroleum company estimates Turkmenistan's reserves at 19.5 trillion cubic metres. Control of gas is one of the Kremlin's most sensitive geopolitical weapons, and Russia is trying hard to confirm its influence over all the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia in this area.
Recent investigations by Radio Ozodi have shown manoeuvres in Uzbekistan, where the Russians have taken control of the local oil sector through a system of offshore companies from various countries, causing serious consequences for domestic supplies to the population, and causing considerable scandal among the Uzbek public. The Berdymuhamedov family's regime does not seem to be as manipulable as that of Uzbek President Mirziyoyev.