By Ajay Modi
State-owned explorer’s foreign arm wants to invest in exploration & production in the country, which has world’s fourth-largest reserves
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), ONGC’s overseas arm, is looking to invest in Turkmenistan’s exploration and production (E&P) industry. The company is interested in the large gas reserves of the nation. India has already partnered Turkmenistan to import gas through the transnational Tapi (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipeline project.
At the Petrotech conference in New Delhi last month, Turkmenistan’s Acting Minister of Oil & Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Kakageldy Abdullaev had invited Indian companies Gail and OVL to make investments in his country.
“We are very keen to invest in the E&P sector of Turkmenistan, particularly its gas reserves. We have had few meetings with key people from the country. Their government delegation is likely to be here later this year,” said D K Sarraf, managing director, OVL.
Turkmenistan offers service contracts to the foreign companies, while OVL is keen to enter through a production-sharing contract.
“Turkmenistan prefers service contracts, but we are keen to have a production-sharing contract. We are trying to convince them of the positives in a production-sharing contract,” said Sarraf.
Pointing to the gas reserves of the nation, he said that one of Turkmenistan’s leading gas fields, Galkynysh, has reserves that could feed 180 liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains of 5 million tonnes each for 30 years.
The $7.6-billion Tapi project envisages building 1,680 km of pipeline, with a total gas capacity of 90 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd).
Of the 90 mscmd of gas that the pipeline would carry from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan would consume 14 mscmd, while India and Pakistan would account for 38 mscmd each.
Turkmenistan has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world, including the world’s second largest South Yolotan gas field.
Gas supplies will be made for a 30-year period, once the pipeline becomes operational in 2018. Securing gas from external sources has become crucial for India, as the nation faces a sharp rise in demand from sectors such as power and fertilisers, while no major increase in domestic production is lined up.
Turkmenistan is endowed with rich reserves of natural gas, crude oil, iodine, potassium and rock salts.
It also has significant reserves of crude oil. The country’s key industries are state-owned.
In 2011, Turkmenistan produced about 11 million tonnes of crude oil and 51 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas, of which about 30.5 bcm were exported.