The successful experience and prospects for cooperation in the oil and gas sector were discussed at the XXIV International Exhibition and Conference "Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan - 2019" (OGT - 2019) in Ashgabat. The forum was organized by Turkmenneft State Concern and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan. It brought together experts, representatives of governmental bodies and reputable organizations, leading players in the global fuel and energy sector, as well as relevant departments of Turkmenistan.
"The sustainable growth of Turkmenistan's economy opens up great opportunities for all parties interested in equal and mutually beneficial partnerships and strengthens foreign businessmen's desire to invest in our promising market," President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said in his welcoming address to the forum participants.
This time, over 60 leading companies from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Great Britain, the Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, Singapore, USA, Turkey, Japan and other countries presented their potential at the exhibition. The exhibition featured a wide range of products and services in the field exploration, production and transportation of oil and gas, deep drilling, modernization of existing and construction of new pipelines, increasing the oil and gas processing capacity and output of wells. The topic of building coastal infrastructure for the implementation of projects in the Caspian Sea occupied a special place.
The oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan was represented by State Concerns Turkmengas, Turkmenneft, State Corporation Turkmengeologiya, as well as more than ten industrial enterprises. This year, the Turkmen expositions focused mainly on the oil and gas chemical industries, demonstrating opportunities for enhanced international cooperation not only in production of hydrocarbons but also in manufacturing of products with high added value that are in great demand at the foreign markets.
The exhibition stand by Turkmengas State Concern presented a map flagging the country's major gas fields such as Galkynysh, Central Karakum, Dovletabat, Naip, Malay and others that feed the transnational pipelines. The volumetric mockup of the TAPI gas pipeline graphically showed the scale of this transnational project.
A number of Turkmen exhibitors presented the operations of new industrial complexes and their finished products. For example, in 2019, Turkmenistan commissioned the world's first plant in Ovadandepe for production of the environmentally friendly synthetic gasoline from natural gas using innovative technologies. Conforming to Euro-5 standard, ECO-93 gasoline is consumed domestically and exported to Romania and Afghanistan. Exports to Western Europe are expected in the future. A newly built polymer plant in Kiyanly presented granules and a variety of finished products. The most surprising of them were soft carpets made of oil products by the Abadan carpet factory.
In the pavilion by State Concern Turkmenneft, visitors had the opportunity to get acquainted with various phases of development and operation of oil fields, including Barsagelmes, Goturdepe, Nebitdag, South Kamyshlydzha, Korpezhe and other oil fields.
The progress in prospecting of mineral resources, including hydrocarbons, was presented at the exposition by State Corporation Turkmengeologiya that boasts a modern technical base capable of providing all types of geological exploration and drilling of exploration holes.
The foreign exhibitors included Dragon Oil (UAE), Petronas (Malaysia), CNPC (China), Sumimoto Corporation (Japan), Tatneft (Russia), alk Enerji (Turkey), SOCAR (Azerbaijan), Schlumberger (Netherlands) and others.
Russian URAL vehicles were put up for viewing in the square in front of the exhibition center of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan. The company has been operating in Turkmenistan for more than 10 years now. In this period, the oil and gas industry and construction organizations of Turkmenistan received many URAL vehicles. At the exhibition, the company presented a new family of vehicles - Ural Next. They are noted comfortable cabs and enhanced carrying capacity.
Another Russian exhibitor - TATNEFT group of companies - has been performing well workover operations at Goturdepe field in Turkmenistan since 2010. The portfolio of the company's new offers includes development of bitumen deposits, turnkey construction of fuel and energy facilities and much more.
Russian KAMAZ also presented new products at the exhibition. The Scientific Institute NAMI, a designer of the famous new generation of Aurus cars, has developed an innovative shuttle for KAMAZ. This is an unmanned ecological minibus for 12 people, equipped with a GPS navigator and visual sensors. A small-class unmanned electric bus with fuel distance of up to 100 km and batteries charging in just 10-15 minutes was another innovation that aroused interest at the exhibition.
The thematic conference looked into the global trends at energy markets and prospects for cooperation, development of existing and optimization of production at oil and gas fields jointly with foreign investors.
As was emphasized, Turkmenistan is the largest player in the Asian oil and gas market. The country's hydrocarbon resources are estimated at more than 71 billion tons of oil equivalent, consisting of over 20 billion tons of oil and more than 50 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
In fact, Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world in terms of proven reserves of natural gas after Russia, Iran and Qatar.
The extensive gas pipeline system of Turkmenistan is an effective network of internal pipelines connected to export routes. Three branches of the Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kazakhstan - China pipeline occupy a prominent place among them. This pipeline has been successfully functioning for almost ten years now. About 35-40 billion cubic meters of natural gas are exported annually through this gas pipeline to China. Construction of the fourth branch will help increase exports to this county to 65 billion cubic meters. According to CNPC Vice President Wang Zhongcai, more than 252 billion cubic meters of natural gas have been supplied to China since the launch of this pipeline.
It was also noted at the forum that beginning 2019 Turkmengas State Concern resumed natural gas supplies to Russia, with the annual exports reaching up to 5 billion cubic meters.
The under-construction Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India (TAPI) international gas pipeline with a rated annual capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas is also a key direction in export diversification. As was noted, this project is an important step in implementing the energy strategy of Turkmenistan aimed at creating a new architecture of global energy security, strengthening peace and stability in the region.
In this regard, the forum discussed prospects for exporting Turkmen gas to Europe. According to representative of the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy Erlendas Grigorovich, Europe and Turkmenistan have opportunities to implement a project on construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. "With the view of diversification of the energy potential, the European Union has already put the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline on the list of promising projects ... and it stands ready to look into ways of working with its Turkmen partners and implement the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline."
Speaking at the conference, the World Bank's chief oil and gas expert Alexander Huurdeman also confirmed the bank's readiness to discuss natural gas exports to Europe with the Turkmen side. In this regard, both experts spoke positively about the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea signed in 2018.
In turn, President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) Rovnag Abdullayev emphasized that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan gained new momentum in the last two years. He proposed to open a representative office of SOCAR Trading in Turkmenistan.
The conference discussed in detail topics such as "Attracting investments in offshore blocks of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea", "Optimizing production at currently exploited fields jointly with foreign investors" and "Prospects for development of the gas chemical and oil refining industries of Turkmenistan."
A representative of Dragon oil company (UAE), which was contracted to develop oil and gas fields in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea, highly rated the prospects for foreign partners' participation in developing the offshore blocks of Turkmenistan. Supporting this point, he emphasized that his company increased average daily output of hydrocarbons by more than 10 times compared to 2000.
As a whole, the conference noted that foreign companies operating in Turkmenistan under production sharing agreements produced about 70 million tons of oil, 7.5 million tons of condensate and 116.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas as part of their projects. Foreign operators invested more than 28.7 billion US dollars in the development of projects.
A number of reports at the conference focused on digitalization as the key to efficiency and economic growth.
Heads of departments of the fuel and energy complex of Turkmenistan also held talks with top managers of foreign companies on the sidelines of OGT-2019. They discussed promising projects and a cooperation strategy. Representatives of foreign companies visited the plant for production of synthetic gasoline from natural gas in Akhal region.
Thus, the industry forum helped to strengthen the existing and establish new business contacts in the oil and gas sector.