Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Government calls for more Caspian development

The government has called for further development of the Caspian shelf's energy wealth, adding to speculation that some new Production Sharing Agreements could be on the cards.
Economy and Development Minister Basimmyrat Hojamammedov said in late August that PSAs are “rapidly developing” in Turkmenistan, and that the government's priority was signing new PSAs on offshore fields. Specifically (and a little unusually given that talks are still underway), he said that negotiations were being held with companies including “Chevron, ExxonMobil, Total, Gas de France, Eni, ConocoPhilips, Midland Oil & Gas, British Petroleum and several companies from the Far East and the Persian Gulf”.

It is hardly a secret that most of these companies are interested in Turkmenistan's reserves: in particular the dogged efforts of Chevron and ExxonMobil to secure an offshore block are a long-running saga in Ashgabat. The decision to flag up the negotiations now could suggest that the government is moving towards signing new deals. However it's significant the news came from the Economy and Development Ministry – something of an outlier on energy policy - rather than the State Agency for Hydrocarbons, the Oil and Gas Ministry, or Baymurad Hojamuhammedov.

President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov also called for increased oil and gas development and “cooperation with foreign partners, including the world's leading companies with advanced technologies and know-how.”

Analysts will be keeping a close eye out as to whether this actually leads to any new deals being signed, particularly as conference season approaches. There is no sign that the government is prepared to budge on its refusal to grant PSAs onshore.

For more news and expert analysis about the Caspian region, please see Caspian Focus.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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