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On the 17th of July, BP released its 2012 edition of its Statistical Review of World Energy, the energy business ‘bible’.
In it Turkmenistan’s proven natural gas reserves have been increased to 24.3 trillion cubic meters, almost double the 13.4 trillion cubic meters estimated in 2010. This revised figure marks Turkmenistan as holding 11.7 percent of global proven natural gas reserves, almost equal to Qatar’s 25 trillion cubic meters (12 percent of world total).
Turkmenistan currently exports gas in two pipes going north towards Russia which have an annual capacity of 45 billion cubic meters, and in two pipes with a capacity of 20 billion cubic meters, going south to Iran. Due to Turkmenistan not actually producing much of its proven reserves none of the pipes are currently working at full capacity, transporting only 10 billion cubic meters in either direction.
The EU looks to Turkmenistan’s gas as an alternative to Russia, and hope that it would introduce competition to Gazprom’s monopoly and therefore reduce natural gas prices; however whilst a pipeline to Europe offers a very attractive opportunity for Turkmenistan, they are unwilling to make any move until granted political assurances against any Russian countermeasures.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com