Turkmenistan completes section of gas line to China

Turkmenistan has completed construction on its 188-km section of a 7,000-km natural gas pipeline that extends from Turkmenistan to China, according to official media.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 -- Turkmenistan has completed construction on its 188-km section of a 7,000-km natural gas pipeline that extends from Turkmenistan to China, according to official media.

“Work on the Turkmen section of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline…is complete,” said the state-owned Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper.

Construction of the Turkmen section of the line, at a cost of $400 million, was carried out by Russia’s Stroytransgaz. The whole line, which will transport gas from the Caspian Sea across Central Asia to China, is scheduled to start up by yearend.
The pipeline starts from Turkmen gas fields near the Amu Darya river. It then enters Uzbekistan at Olot, then flows on to southern Kazakhstan, and on to Alashankou in China, where it will be connected to the West-East Gas Pipeline.

In addition to gas from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the $7.3 billion line is to be supplied from Kazakhstan’s Karachaganak, Tengiz and Kashagan gas fields. China National Petroleum Corp. has already signed a 30-year agreement for the supply of 30 billion cu m/year of gas through the new line.

The new development comes at an opportune moment for Turkmenistan, whose gas historically has been piped to Russia. But the Central Asian country has been seeking to diversify its export markets away from Russia.

The importance of its strategy was underlined earlier this year after a pipeline explosion sparked a disagreement with Russia’s OAO Gazprom that saw Turkmen gas exports almost completely cut off. Since then, the two sides have been unable to agree on a new export arrangement.

The Turkmen government, noting the significance of the new pipeline, said, “Getting gas supplies to China will mark another important milestone in the successful implementation of Turkmenistan's strategy of diversifying energy export routes to world markets.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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