Ashgabat intends to clarify a number of issues on the gas alliance of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan12.08.2023 | 18:48 |
On August 11, a number of media outlets circulated a statement by Dmitry Birichevsky, Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, regarding the so-called "trilateral gas alliance" with the participation of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. According to him, Russia does not exclude "the possibility of expanding trilateral cooperation in the gas sector" and knows "that other states are also showing interest in it."
"Mr. Birichevsky's statement raises at least a few questions. What "expansion opportunities" are we talking about, what "other states" are interested in them, what, in principle, is behind the "trilateral interaction" in the gas sector? The streamlined wording used by the Russian diplomat does not provide answers to them. And full clarity is required here, since the interests of other states, including Turkmenistan, are affected," Myrad Archayev, Deputy Chairman of the State Concern Turkmengaz, commented.
"Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China have been cooperating for a long time on the transportation of natural gas from Central Asia to the People's Republic of China, with clearly agreed volumes, deadlines, economic and technical parameters," the official recalled.
He added that three branches of the Turkmenistan–China gas pipeline are currently functioning, through which gas is supplied from Turkmen fields in the east and south-east of the country.
"All three lines and the production facilities that ensure their operation were jointly built exclusively by the Turkmen and Chinese sides – respectively, the State Concern Turkmengaz and the Chinese oil and gas company CNPC. And today, Turkmenistan is the largest supplier of gas through this pipeline: out of the total agreed volume of supplies, amounting to 55 billion rubles. cubic meters per year, 40 billion. cubic meters are contracted by Turkmenistan, and the remaining volumes are provided by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan," the deputy head of Turkmengaz said in a comment published on Saturday on the website of the state information agency TDH.
"There are no gas sources from other countries to fill the pipeline, and the existing scheme of distribution of volumes of gas supplied to China does not include plans to expand the membership of the Turkmenistan – China gas pipeline project," Archayev said. He noted that Turkmenistan strictly adheres to its obligations to Chinese, Uzbek and Kazakh partners "and legitimately counts on reciprocity."
It is also obvious that any changes to the agreed and executed volumes and schemes of gas supplies, using the existing infrastructure, require prior approval from all participants without exception.
"Meanwhile, no consultations have been held with Turkmenistan on this issue. Such an approach is incomprehensible and unacceptable for the Turkmen side, and is considered by our country as not conforming to the norms of international law and the practice of working in the gas sector," Archayev said.
According to him, "statements by official representatives that somehow affect the international obligations of our country and may sow ambiguity and speculation about their implementation by other participants cause serious concern."
As a responsible State, Turkmenistan proceeds from the fact that international cooperation, including in such an important segment as energy supplies, should be based on open and clear criteria, mutual respect and consideration of interests, strict compliance with the agreements reached. Fluctuations in the foreign economic situation cannot serve as a reason for changing these principles, TDH said in a statement.