EU energy boss Maros Sefcovic said late on April 30 thatEurope could import natural gas from ex-Soviet Turkmenistan via Iran as Brussels ramps up efforts to break its dependence on Russian-sourced energy.
Speaking after a meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in the capital Ashgabat, Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission for Energy Union, also said he expected that imports of Turkmen gas via a pipeline built under the Caspian sea could begin as soon as 2019. Sefcovic said the two had discussed the “possibility of building a pipeline through the Caspian as well as through Iran, since diplomatic relations with Iran are developing positively.”
“The EU hopes that negotiations between the big six andIran conclude successfully,” he added, speaking in comments aired on Turkmen state television. Officials in Iran, which shares the inland Caspian Sea with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, have repeatedly said the Trans-Caspian pipeline is uneconomic and that building a land-based pipeline transiting the sanctions-struck Gulf state would be a better option. But with talks over Iran’s nuclear program involving the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany hanging in the balance ahead of a June 30 deadline, Sefcovic stressed the Caspian link.
Connection to TANAP
The pipeline could cost upwards of $5 billion and would funnel gas under the disputed sea from Turkmenistan toAzerbaijan before connecting with the existing South Caucasus pipeline and the planned Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey.