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Luca VASANCZKI

Gas Exports in Turkmenistan

Note de l'Ifri, novembre 2011

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Executive Summary

The Caspian region has been at the center of attention since Europe began seeking alternative routes to natural-gas resources. Turkmenistan has the potential to become an important gas exporter to Europe.

As a landlocked country, Turkmenistan until recently has relied on post-Soviet pipeline infrastructures. The Central Asian republic has been at the mercy of Moscow‟s energy policy, which overlaps its foreign policy.
At the same time, the revenue from gas exports is an essential part of the Turkmen national budget. This prompted Ashgabat to look for energy partners bypassing Russian territories. It started to convey natural gas first to Iran and then to China. This gave Turkmenistan strong leverage vis-à-vis Moscow.

Ashgabat has not decided to export every gas molecule eastward, but, in jeopardizing its relations with Moscow, it expects more than empty pledges from Europe.

On the other hand, a simple question emerges: Does Europe really need alternative sources? The answer is in the hands of Gazprom and Russian policymakers.

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