Swap supplies of Turkmen gas in transit through Iran do not violate anti-Iranian sanctions, U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan Matthew Klimow said at a press conference in Ashgabat last Thursday.
When asked how the United States would react to the supply of Turkmen gas to Turkiye in transit through Iran, Klimow replied: “It depends on a lot of factors. For example, the transfer of gas to Azerbaijan via a swap through Iran does not violate sanctions. Therefore, it will depend on how this deal is structured.”
According to him, “it is very wise for Turkmenistan to diversify its oil or gas supplies to the West, as well as to the East and South.” At the same time, the ambassador positively assessed the idea of building a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, provided that Europe is interested in it.
“I think it is also very wise to build a gas pipeline through the Caspian Sea. And from an engineering point of view, this is not a big problem. Political and economic calculations must be conducted in order to implement such a project, and there must be interest from the countries of the Caspian region and from Europe,” he said. The natural gas exchange deal was concluded between Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan on November 28, 2021. The agreement provides for the supply of up to 1.5 bcm of Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan per year.
Deliveries began in early January 2022. According to Azerbaijani statistics, 1.326 bcm of Turkmen gas were imported in January-October 2023. Ashgabat has been promising the EU for many years about the possibility of supplying Turkmen gas via the western route (through the construction of a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline with a capacity of 10 billion to 30 bcm.)
For a long time, Moscow and Tehran were against the gas pipeline construction project. However, in August 2018, in Aktau, Kazakhstan, the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. According to the document, in order to lay main pipelines along the seabed of the Caspian Sea, it is enough to negotiate with those countries through which the pipeline will pass. However, in order to prevent possible emergencies, it is necessary to coordinate the environmental components of the project with all Caspian littoral countries.