Although some significant legal obstructions have been removed after the Caspian Sea agreement was signed last year, it is close to impossible to see how the economics of exporting Turkmen gas to Europe via a Trans-Caspian-Pipeline could work, energy experts told New Europe, adding that this would also apply to Kazakhstan, and indeed Nur-Sultan is focusing on two other export markets, Russia and China.

The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea treaty was signed at the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on 12 August 2018 ending more than two decades of negotiations after Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all bordering the Caspian Sea – agreed in principle on how to divide it up.

But Simon Pirani, a senior visiting research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told New Europe by phone on 4 June that the 2018 agreement about the Caspian Sea between the littoral states did clarify the legal status of the Caspian. “But that does not change, first of all, the export policy of Turkmenistan, which is that it traditionally sold gas at the border of the country and has not participated in any export pipeline projects.


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