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Gazprom for Turkmen vector
Russian monopolist suggests building new pipeline

Today, discussion of results of the recent meeting in Moscow of Russian, Byelorussian, Kazakhstani and Ukrainian presidents who declared about intention to create single economic zone, is still in the center of attention of CIS mass media. However, skeptics call not to hasten with conclusions and suggest waiting for more real integration steps.Being devoted to the principles of neutrality and non-interference to affairs of other countries, Ashkhabd officially did not react in any way to the statement of "four" for from the very beginning Turkmenistan considered and still considers Commonwealth as a consulting body promoting to the development of direct mutually advantageous ties.
Even if Turkmenistan is involved in any integration schemes it means just joint participation in certain projects. In this context rather perspective is the idea of construction of a new gas main sounded recently by Turkmenistan and Russia. It worth mentioning that it was not Turkmenistan but Russian Gazprom, which first sounded this proposal.
Earlier many experts were considering that the project on laying of a gas main from Turkmen eastern coast of the Caspian Sea via Kazakhstan to Russia can appear more real project than sharp increase of carrying capacity of the current pipeline Central Asia-Center, passing through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Cut of the route from Turkmenistan to Russia up to 700 kilometers could cause in the project for a total cost at 1 billion USD, which two countries can afford.

Besides, private companies having huge plans on development of Turkmen deposits on land and a shelf of Caspian sea could join this project. For example, recently created with participation of Itera, Rosneft and Zarubejneft for development of Caspian oil and gas deposits Turkmen company Zarit hardly remain indifferent by observer in case of realization of this project.

As for Gazprom the vice-president of board of the company Alexander Rjazanov has declared that Gazprom is interested in delivering Turkmen gas for export, that is more favourable than to export Russian gas. As he said, in two - three years as of growth of consumption of gas inside Russia "we can face a problem of export of the Russian gas".

While speaking about technical parameters of the future pipeline, Riazanov said that its construction can be completed by 2007 and be designed for pumping of 30 billion cubic meters of fuel annually. Gazprom officials also informed, that the intergovernmental agreement between Turkmenistan and Russia about cooperation in oil and gas sphere can be signed in April - May of the current year.

It is obvious that if Ashkhabad and Moscow sign so major document, it will mean a revolutionary turn in economic relations between two friendly states. That, certainly, will be reflected in a geopolitical situation in region as a whole.

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By Igor Solovyev

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