Turkmen gas, once on the European market, is able to wipe out the position of Russian Gazprom and a deprive Iran of potential market. This point of view was expressed in an interview with the news agency “Vestnik Kavkaza” by Andrey Kazantsev, Doctor of Political Sciences, chief researcher of the Analytical Center of the Institute of International Studies at Moscow State Institute of International relations.
Commenting on the current state of Turkmen-Iranian relations, expert noted that Turkmenistan represents the second policy direction for Iran. While Iran confronts Israel and Saudi Arabia on the main front, the country tries to maintain peace with its northern neighbor and the most stable cooperation.
“Turkmenistan, as a neutral country, as a country open to cooperation with everyone, as a country that has officially announced that it will not join any military blocs, is strategically completely satisfied with Iran,” Kazantsev added.
However, if the geopolitically Turkmenistan suits Tehran, both are potential competitors in the hydrocarbon politics.
“Iran has huge gas reserves, which it would like to sell, primarily to Europe,” the analyst noted. Iranian gas could make its way to Europe via Turkey, but such plans are hindered by US sanctions.
As for Turkmenistan, sitting on ample gas reserves, the pipeline may pass through the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Turkey route, which is contrary to the interests of Iran.
“Here, Iran’s position coincides with Russia’s interest. Russia does not need such a competitor of Gazprom’s position in Europe. Turkmen gas is very cheap at cost, and of very high quality; it contains little sulfur as compared to Russian gas, etc. This is a very dangerous competitor. And there is a lot of gas there (in Turkmenistan). This is almost the third largest reserves in the world”, Kazantsev said, adding that Turkmenistan can “fill the whole of Europe with this gas”.
According to the Russian expert, the situation is get complicated by the involvement of Turkey in the South Caucasus and the recent deal between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea regarding the Dostluk field, which actually means resolving the issue of delimitation.
“Moreover, a demarcation regime for five countries has been introduced in the Caspian Sea, that means the possibility for Iran to make territorial claims. Theoretically, we can face a situation where Iran is against Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the gas issue,” Kazantsev warned. /// nCa, 1 April 2021