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Szijjarto: Turkmen agreement “pragmatic option” to ensure energy security in Europe

It would be in Europe's interest if Turkmenistan entered the European energy market, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Ashgabat on Friday, adding however that major infrastructure developments were needed first.
9. June 2023 17:41

Szijjarto noted that Turkmenistan had the world’s fourth largest natural gas deposits, while in terms of gas extraction the country was the eleventh in the global list. “Extraction capacity could well be increased,” he added.

Turkmenistan is interested in supplying gas to Europe, but such transactions are currently hindered physically, as there is no pipeline of sufficient capacity between the eastern and western shores of the Caspian Sea, Szijjarto said.

“However, there is a will to build one, but some none-too-simple legal issues need to be sorted out,” he added.

Once those issues are resolved, a 300km pipeline with an annual capacity of 30 billion cubic metres will need to be built between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan for supplying gas to south-eastern Europe via Turkiye, he said. From that region, Hungary could receive gas via the existing pipelines in Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia, he said, adding however that the capacity of those piplines also needed to be increased.

“The only sensible solution to Europe’s energy crisis is to increase the volume of gas imports. The more gas Europe received … the simpler it would be to obtain it, bolstering energy security and helping to reduce the price of energy,” Szijjarto said.

Szijjarto also called on the EU to “step up” and enforce its association and partnership agreement with Turkmenistan signed 25 years ago.

“In the current situation, closer cooperation with Turkmenistan will result in a considerable improvement in the security of energy supplies,” he said. “We Hungarians will be glad to act as a bridge. We have an interest in Turkmenistan entering the European energy market, an interest shared with the whole of Europe,” he said.

During Szijjarto’s talks in Turkmenistan, representatives of the two countries signed accords in the areas of investment protection, tourism, as well as cooperation in water management, culture, higher education, diplomatic training, and meteorology.

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