Bulgaria Tries to Boost Natural Gas Trade with Turkmenistan

Business » ENERGY | April 15, 2010, Thursday // 18:20
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Tries to Boost Natural Gas Trade with Turkmenistan The EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger has insisted on the importance of the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline during the first International Gas Congress in Ashkhabad. Map by Wikipedia

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Traicho Traikov has had meetings with a number of key officials in Turkmenistan in an attempt to boost economic ties with the Central Asian country.

Traikov was in Ashkhabad in order to take part in the 1st International Gas Congress, taking place in Turkmenistan’s capital from April 13 till April 16, announced the press service of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism.

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Traikov has met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan, Baymurat Hodzhamuhammedov, and with the Minister of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources, Bayramgeldy Nedirov, with whom he discussed the possibilities for importing natural gas from Turkmenistan to Bulgaria.

The international gas forum in Turkmenistan was also attended by the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who stressed in his speech the need to construct the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, which will connect Turkmenistan with Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea, paving the way for Turkmenistan to export natural gas to Europe, including through the Nabucco pipeline.

The EU Energy Commissioner said he met no opposition to the project during his latest visit to Russia. The Trans-Caspian Pipeline would allow Turkmenistan to skip Russia as an intermediary in its gas exports to Europe.

Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Traikov declared during the forum that there was a necessity to find a mutually beneficial solution that would not only diversify the natural gas imports of Bulgaria and the EU, but would also diversify the export routes of Turkmenistan.

“The utilization of the opportunities for securing alternative sources of energy in the realization of the trans-continental infrastructure projects is a main priority in the economic cooperation between Bulgaria and Turkmenistan,” Traikov is quoted as saying.

He has stressed the importance of the partnership with Turkmenistan in Bulgaria’s quest to become a major transit hub of energy resources from Central Asia and the Caspian region to the EU and world markets.

Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry reminds that Turkmenistan has significant deposits of oil (600 million barrels) and is the largest natural gas producer in Central Asia with reserves of 3 000 billion cubic meters.

The Bulgarian Ministry points out that Turkmenistan has recently reviewed its gas export policy, and has turned to a diversification of its export be seeking foreign investors from Europe, Iran, and Pakistan.

It is expected to export about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2010. By 2020, about 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas from its total production of 175 billion cubic meters is expected to be exported.

According to the Economy Minister, the trade relations between Bulgaria and Turkmenistan are limited, the major reason for that being the geographically hindered communications and lack of information about the mutual business opportunities.

The Bulgarian Economy Minister Traikov has negotiated with the members of the Turkmenistan government the setting up of a Bulgaria-Turkmenistan joint commission whose first meeting will be in the second half of 2010.

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Tags: Turkmenistan, natural gas, Trans-Caspian pipeline, Guenther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, Central Asia, Caspian Sea, Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, Baymurat Hodzhamuhammedov, Bayramgeldy Nedirov

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