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22.03.07 13:43
A FOUNTAIN OF GAS OVERWEIGHTS A FOUNTAIN OF GUESSES
Geologists and their discoveries traditionally have the last word in disputes over the scale of Turkmenistan's hydrocarbon reserves
Setting out the priorities for the Turkmen government at the first Cabinet meeting, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov put the foreign policy in the first place. Development of the fuel and energy complex was emphasized as Turkmenistan's second important priority. It should be noted that today it is not easy to draw a clear line between these two vectors of development. It is no secret that the issue of cooperation in the sector of hydrocarbon resources was at the top of agenda of the most meetings with foreign delegations that the Turkmen government had over the last month.

At the Cabinet meeting the President of Turkmenistan said that the fuel and energy sector of Turkmenistan would work according to the plan of the fuel and energy complex development until 2030 adopted in the lifetime of the first president Saparmurat Niyazov. According to this program, the volume of prospecting and geophysical works to investigate the deep geological structure of the country's bowels would be increased significantly. As regards foreign policy, the government of Turkmenistan stated its commitment to all the agreements with its major oil and gas partners and readiness to cooperate with all interested countries.

It was no later than on February 15 that Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation expressed their mutual interest in increasing the potential of partnership in the gas field on the basis of the 25-year interstate agreement signed by Vladimir Putin and Saparmurat Niyazov in April 2003. The work to implement the 2006 accords with China is well under way. According to these accords, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is to build a pipeline to China by the end of 2008 and to receive 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year for the period of 30 years starting the beginning 2009. It should be recalled that the agreement provides for gas supplies to China from the right bank of Amudarya river which is to be developed by CNPC. In the last month, US, Ukraine, Germany, Canada, Japan and other states supported the idea of cooperating with Turkmenistan in the energy sector.

The world mass media could not overlook such heightened interest by a number of states in the hydrocarbon reserves of Turkmenistan. As often happens, there set off a wave of commentaries, rumors and guesses in mass media on the prospects and capacity of the Turkmen fuel and energy sector. Talkative columnists, unfortunately, could not help but found themselves in a typical situation when private opinions turn into headlines cited in "analytical" articles later on as an axiom. Some jump into conclusions that Turkmenistan intentionally creates the illusion of gas deficit with a view of selling it at a higher price. Others claim that official Turkmen sources deliberately overestimate the reserves of hydrocarbons in Turkmenistan.

When one talks about energy resources of any country, the correlation of estimated, explored, physically extracted and confirmed by international audit amount of natural resources has always been a more or less debated issue. However, the most forcible argument in such kind of disputes is the real discoveries made by geologists...

It was literally a few days ago that a new natural gas field was discovered in the Osman block in the southeast of Turkmenistan. According to preliminary estimates, the productive formation is 500 meters thick, 10 times the capacity of all hydrocarbon reserves currently developed in Turkmenistan.

This only fact looks much more convincing and trustworthy than a choir of skeptical talks about "unwarranted" potential of gas extraction in Turkmenistan. The fount of eloquence is clearly weaker than the next fountain of gas obtained from the fertile Turkmen soil.



Mariya KOLODINA
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