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Turkmenistan: exports do not change after the change of the presidents?

16 February 2022

Belogoryev Alexey M. Research and Development Director, Director of the Center for Energy strategic analysis and forecasting

Alexey Belogoryev, Deputy Principal Director on Energy Studies at the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to the Oil and Capital publication on the prospects for changing the energy policy of Turkmenistan amid the ongoing transition of power.

Turkmenistan does not have many opportunities for a radical reorientation of gas exports, and it is not the president of the country who determines its direction

Aleksey Belogoryev noted, that the long-discussed scenario of the power transfer from father to son is being implemented, i.e., in fact, the establishment of a kind of hereditary monarchy (similar to the Aliyev dynasty in Azerbaijan - there are no other examples in the post-Soviet space yet):

“Such a “transit” in itself means the continuity of political goals. Especially since Berdymukhammedov Sr., apparently, is only partially ready to share power: he will remain chairman of the upper house of parliament, which was established specifically for this purpose. Therefore, there will be no “reversal”, let alone a “revolution”, in energy policy,” the expert believes.

He recalled that Turkmen gas geographically has five sales markets and, accordingly, supply directions: post-Soviet countries, neighboring Iran, China, South Asia (in transit through Afghanistan or Iran) and Europe (in transit through the Caspian Sea, Iran or Russia):

“The last two directions for Turkmenistan remain closed due to geopolitical problems, and the “change” of power will not change this situation in any way. The northern neighbors (Russia and the countries of Central Asia) have not shown much interest in Turkmen gas in recent years, although supplies to Russia in 2021 have increased significantly. Iran signed in November 2021 a trilateral agreement on swap supplies of Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan, but so far we are talking about small volumes - 1.2-2.0 billion cubic meters per year, which is quite a bit compared to the throughput capacity of cross-border gas pipelines in the amount of 14 billion cubic meters per year. In fact, China remains the only "live" direction. Only the prospect of gas supplies in the European direction, which is not yet visible, can change the situation," Belogoryev summed up.

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