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Central Asia and the Caspian Sea: a Trap or Salvation?

Central Asia and the Caspian Sea: a Trap or Salvation?

The "gas war" with Ukraine has once again emphasised the importance of gas reserves in the Central Asian republics. They have long since become one of the elements of a major geopolitical game.

Russia has to date managed to retain control of gas flows from that region thanks to the Soviet gas transport system. It has even been able to get a monopoly on purchasing gas in Central Asia having successfully driven Ukraine from that market.

However, considering that a new gas pipeline is being built from Turkmenistan to China, the lie of the land is set to change, significantly. Even Europe actively announces diversifying gas supplies, including by creating new channels to deliver Asian gas to its market.

Turkey also steps up efforts to create a Trans-Turkic corridor for gas supplies from Central Asia to Europe.

The new export routes will give more confidence to the Central Asian rulers who have even without that achieved considerable success in negotiating the price of their fuel with Russia.

It is also obvious that the Caspian region will remain central to the US under the new administration.

The report offers an in-depth discussion of the following subjects:

  • The real gas potential of the region

    • The problem of estimating gas reserves in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan
    • Should the local leaders and the assessors they hire be trusted?
    • The most recent assessment of reserves in Turkmenistan and its shadow side
    • Potential for increasing production in the Central Asian countries
  • Development prospects for new routes

    • War of projects: a comparison of alternative pipelines
    • Financial and political risks
    • Current status
    • Weak and strong points
  • The commercial and geopolitical interests of the key players

    • Opportunities for Gazprom to preserve its monopoly
    • The risks of the selected strategy for retaining control over Central Asian gas
  • Possible developments

The contents of the report:

Introduction 2
Chapter 1. Fight for Control over Central Asian Gas Growing Fiercer. Key Players. Interests and Opportunities 4
1.1. Strategies of Key Actors 4
1.2. Political Situation in Central Asian States, Its Influence on Gas 5
1.3. Risks and Opportunities of Key Contenders for Central Asian Hydrocarbons 13
Chapter 2. Gas Reserves in Central Asian Countries. Production Development Prospects. Existing Contracts and Agreements 22
2.1. Turkmenistan 23
2.2. Uzbekistan 27
2.3. Kazakhstan 29
2.4. Central Asia Low on Gas: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan 34
Chapter 3. Potential Gas Transport Projects in the Region 37
3.1. Turkmenistan-China Gas Pipeline (Central Asian Gas Pipeline) 37
3.2. Expansion of Existing Gas Transport System, Central Asia – Centre. Caspian Gas Pipeline 40
3.3. Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline and “Southern Corridor” to Europe 42
Chapter 4. Forecast of Developments 45
4.1. Factor of Berdimuhammedov and “Multidirectional” Turkmenistan 45
4.2. New US Administration and the End of the European Commission’s Mandate 46
4.3. “Chinese Trace” 48
4.4. Russian Trump Card 48
Date of issue March 10, 2009

If you are interested to obtain please contact » Elena Kim

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