Turkmenistan Natural Gas

Turkmenistan holds significantly large quantities of natural gas (they hold the world’s fourth largest reserves) and these have, over the years, proved attractive to Russia, China and the West. Until fairly recently, despite some bad relationships from time to time, the natural gas that the country produced made its way towards the West through Russia. With only Russian pipes as the conduit, Turkmen gas was under the real control of those who chose whether to pump the gas, or not.

Map of Central Asia, including Turkmenistan. Map provided by Relief Web.
Click for larger image.

However, when times were flush for the industry (can this be just over a year ago) and in order to ensure supplies for its customers in the West, Russia agreed to a much more beneficial pricing for the Turkmen gas, and was buying some 50 bcm a year. This was all arranged after the Russian Presidency changed hands, and was one of the first items on the new President’s agenda.

Since then things have not really gone well for the relationship as a whole. Turkmenistan has agreed to send natural gas to China, providing it with a second customer, while the price of natural gas has fallen with the recession in demand, around the world. That pipeline is now expected to be in place by the end of next year, and I saw pipelines being laid in China on my recent visit, as they extend the network. The pipeline is expected to carry some 40 bcm (more than Russia will buy this year).

Turkmenistan has also agreed to supply Iran with 14 bcm of natural gas with a new pipeline to carry gas down into Iran being planned for the near future.

Gazprom profits, meanwhile have dropped 62%, as the demand from Europe has dropped dramatically – with Gazprom market share falling to 16%. There was an “accident” to a pipeline between Russia and Turkmenistan, and since then no gas has flowed through the pipelines.

So, in this day of solar car racing (I hear that the route for the new competition has now been agreed), it is perhaps appropriate that the Russians and Turkmen are hoping to improve their relations with an off-road race that has Gazprom and Turkmengas as the main sponsors, of what is known as the Silk Way Rally. President Medvedev will stop by again on Sept 13th intending to renew the deals.

The need for Gazprom to sweeten relationships with Turkmenistan has much to do with the face of the gas pipelines planned to flow into Southern Europe from further East. There are two competing options, the Nabucco pipeline that the Western nations favor, and the South Stream that is being pushed by Gazprom and friends.

Gazprom, working with Italy's ENI , has so far received backing from Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy, Greece and Hungary for the pipeline that would carry gas from Central Asia under the Black Sea to Europe by 2015. Austria and Slovenia are close to signing up to the deal, Gazprom said.

Among those happy to purchase from Gazprom is the UK, that now gets some 16% of what it needs from Russia.

To provide some of these gas needs for Europe (which collectively has been getting about 25% of its gas from Gazprom) Gazprom is building a collector pipeline known as the Caspian Gas pipeline that will carry gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the tune of some 20 bcm a year. There was a meeting of officials from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan in Aktau, Kazakhstan' today to discuss the project. Iran was somewhat upset about not being invited.

Gazprom has also opened a new pipeline into Lithuania and beyond to Kaliningrad. It will be known as Red Junction, and carry 2.5 bcm per year. First shipments are due in December. Thus it has the customers, and can profit well from the transport of gas through its pipelines.

But with Gazprom happy to promise new and existing customers a secure supply, there have to be some concerns over how much can come from Turkmenistan:

Turkmenistan has two options. It can refuse to agree to lower gas prices to Russia. How long can it hold out without gas revenue from Russia? It may use part of the Chinese credits to tide itself over until gas flows to China in 2010. The other option is to agree to lower gas prices to Russia for a short period. At present Russia does not need Turkmen gas to supply the European market. However if EU economies recover in 2010 or 2011 it will need Turkmen gas. Europe faces the risk that Gazprom will not be able to deliver the necessary gas. That would mean high prices for the available gas. Hence the Chinese deal is good news for Turkmenistan. It is bad news for Russia but also the EU.

More thoughts--two days later

A couple of days ago I was writing of the promise inherent in a meeting between the Turkmen President, Gerbanguly Berdymukhamedov and President Medvedev of Russsia. Well the meeting has now taken place, and there was a story in the Moscow Times that the meeting had not gone well. However, before writing this post I went to dinner, and now it seems that story has quietly disappeared. Instead there is now a story in The Daily Star that reports that the meeting went well, and that the two leaders “clinked champagne glasses.”

As I mentioned in the first part of this post, the meeting included the end of the Silk Way Race, which is now over. The dispute may not be, since, although stories talked of the dispute being resolved:

There were also signs that the sides had reached a breakthrough on the export row that would allow stalled talks to go forward. Berdymukhamedov said all technical problems relating to the blast had been fixed, and a top Kremlin aide said that Turkmenistan and Gazprom would hold a meeting within days to discuss “further cooperation in the gas sphere,” Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.
It appears that the agreement is only to continue talks, and not to resume gas shipments.

Now at the moment Turkmenistan is extracting gas and storing it, since the Russians aren’t accepting it into their pipelines, but that may be a bit of a dangerous game for Gazprom, given that the Chinese pipeline may be ready to receive shipments before the end of the year. At the continuation of discussions, but now in Kenderly, Kazakhstan, the Turkmen President mentioned all the commitments, but the one to Russia.

Berdimuhamedov noted his country would begin operating a gas pipeline to China by the end of 2009 with the capacity to pump some 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas per year. Meanwhile, he emphasized the importance of the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) while a rival project from Iran moves forward in the region.

On Nabucco, the natural gas project for Europe, Berdimuhamedov said his country was ready to make pledges in support of the $10.3 billion pipeline.

Now of these the Nabucco continues on life support since there is not yet enough gas committed to be supplied to justify construction, despite an agreed market for sales into Western Europe. There is already a crude oil pipeline in place, the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan pipeline, and the West would like a similar natural gas equivalent, but it keeps running into obstacles. Azerbaijan has doubled its commitment to the line, with supplies proposed from the Shah Deniz field.

Production at Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz natural gas field has risen to 24 million cubic meters (847 million cu ft) daily, Azerbaijani and Russian news sources reported May 4. In 2008, the daily output averaged 22 million cubic meters (777 million cu ft).

Field operator BP said that production increased despite ongoing drilling, the Regnum news agency reported. BP is preparing for a second production phase when annual output is expected to reach 12 billion cubic meters (423 billion cu ft) and, later, 20 billion cubic meters (706 billion cu ft).

Yet this is still not enough to make the pipeline work – it needs the gas from Turkmenistan.

The TAPI pipeline on the other hand would feed natural gas into downstream economies that are desperate for natural gas supplies. Afghanistan is the first of these, and energy shortages are rarely discussed as one of the problems of their economy, but with only 10 - 12% of the populace having access to electricity and with only limited natural gas resources (perhaps enough for a 100 megawatt power station), the country needs to import natural gas in large volumes. The question is, as always, from where? Turkmenistan is a logical place.

Proposed pipeline from Turkmenistan to India

But the route of the pipeline, while agreed, does not end up delivering gas without a pipeline being installed, and though the project has been nearly ready to start since 2003, with a projected construction time of 3-years, there has yet to be a significant physical start.

Pakistan, while getting help for construction of hydro-electrical projects is still desperate for help with natural gas and other energy fuels. But so far there is no pipeline to help.

Looking at it from Turkmenistan’s point of view the pipeline to China will soon open and revenues can come from thus new customer. The price will be at double the price China has been paying for its own gas.

Chinese wellhead prices at $3.5 to $4 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) are now comparable with US onshore gas prices and spot LNG cargoes, but still half of term LNG supplies signed last year for delivery beyond 2012, estimated at $8-$10.

While the cheapness of gas has made it a favoured choice for power plants compared to fuel oil, it has done little to encourage import deals or drilling during a near four-fold rise in demand in the last decade. By raising prices, Beijing will provide an incentive to increase supplies while gradually getting industries used to paying the market rate for raw materials, part of Beijing’s drive for a greener economy and prominent role in global climate talks.

. . . . . Turkmenistan gas will be priced at 2 yuan per cubic metre ($8 per kcf) at the border point in Khorgos, sharply above the average 0.79 yuan for local gas flowing in China’s flagship West-East pipeline, China’s leading financial magazine Caijing reported in March.

Chinese demand is anticipated to grow from a current 7.3 bcf/day to 18 bcf/day by 2020, with 2.9 bcf coming from the new pipeline by 2011.

While this may be an expensive price for China to pay, it will certainly relieve Turkmenistan of the old option that was to either provide natural gas to Russia, or starve, and will give it more income until other options (such as TAPI or selling natural gas to Iran) become a reality.

There is a problem with your map up top. It shows the Aral Sea. It doesn't exist anymore. The rivers that fed it were diverted to irrigate cotton fields. Watch it disappear on YouTube.

Aral Sea Disappears

Ron P.

One of the all time environmental crimes-----
The Caspian is getting raped also, but maintaining water flow.

Sorry. This is a 1995 map. I put it in, so there would be a general map of the area.

Heading Out is still traveling--a conference in Poland, meetings in Norway, and then another conference back in Poland. I was trying to help out a bit and make the post more colorful with another map. Some of us forget where the various countries are located.

There is still hope for the Northern Aral Sea (1/6 of the Aral Sea). It's dammed, and Kazakhs are trying to manage Syrdarya in a way that it'll be able to refill the sea. Still, not enough water yet. But the financial crisis gives some hope that there'll be more water in the river.


Among those happy to purchase from Gazprom is the UK, that now gets some 16% of what it needs from Russia.

Have you got a link for that?
Does UK have a contract?

I found it here .

Thank you for this excellent review of the situation regarding Turkmenistan.

There is always so much more politics involved when a gas producing country has no seaport.

I thought it would be interesting to get a more historical perspective by comparing the natural gas production histories of the three main producing countries in the region -- Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan -- with their non-European potential customers -- Iran, China and Pakistan.

From the Energy Export Databrowser:

(Please excuse the fact that the graphs are not on the same scaling.)

Central Asian Nat. Gas Producers
Potential Customers for Turkmenistan Nat. Gas

Several things jump out.

  • Turkmenistan production fell of a cliff in the mid 1990's. (see below)
  • Uzbekistan produces almost as much gas as Turkmenistan but, with five times the population, uses a significant portion of it internally.
  • Iran, China and Pakistan have all increased production dramatically in recent years but demand has grown even faster.
  • Kazakhstan doubled its consumption of gas between 2000 and 2006. If Turkmenistan does the same their ability to export will suffer. (see below)

Regarding production falling off a cliff --

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia Turkmenistan page:

In 1994, the Russian government's refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets and mounting debts of its major customers in the former Soviet Union for gas deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit.

No wonder they're working with Iran and China.

Regarding Turkmenistan's internal consumption --

The article on Turkmen gas for China has this gem:

The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation has signed contracts to buy gas for the next thirty years. The volume envisaged is 40 billion cubic metres annually.

Are they high? How can they expect stable delivery of this volume of gas for thirty years? Is the Turkmenistan economy supposed to sit idle for three decades?!

Thanks for the very nice additional graphs and analysis.

I can see how China could put quite a bit of additional natural gas to work quite quickly.

Iran always strikes me as strange. They supposedly have huge gas reserves, yet they seem to be a net importer of natural gas. Iran seems to be very slow with development. There is now some talk of development such as this story. I suppose US sanctions against Iran could be one of the issues, and I know that they have historically re-injected quite a bit of the associated natural gas, to keep oil production up. Any other insights as to what is going on?

Some of Iran's problems include that they are re-injecting some of the natural gas to help with crude oil production; and there is no easy way to supply the folk along their Northern Border, who can be reached from Turkmenistan.

Are Iran's stated gas reserves realistic?
I've had differing info, and all over the map.

I'm not going to defend national claims but there is this this from Iran .

Currently Iran ranks the second in the world for proven gas reserves. According to the plans of the State, over the next 15 years, Iran will become the third country in the world for gas production. Therefore, we plan to provide gas demand in Europe, Pakistan and India. Based on the long-term programs, we intend to increase daily gas production to one billion cubic meters.

Also Iran and Qatar share a very large gas field - the North field in Qatar and the South Pars in Iran - supposedly when these two combine with Russia they have 55% of the world's known natural gas.

Would you please share any Natural gas information you have in Iran with me.

I am planning to give a talk on gas in November and would love to know more.


There is a reference here to both the Chinese and Iranian pipelines starting to flow gas in December.

Are they high? How can they expect stable delivery of this volume of gas for thirty years? Is the Turkmenistan economy supposed to sit idle for three decades?!
With 2.8 trillion cu. meters proven reserves (from Wikipedia from 2008 Factbook est.) Turkmenistan could export 40 billion annually to China and more than double its own current consumption for thirty years an still have a few years gas left. Of course China isn't the only one that wants that gas so maybe they are high, or maybe the expectation is that Turkmenistan's true reserves are at least double the 2008 number. Of course what is supposed to 'magically' occur 30 years out to keep things going is the subject some debate.

Nice to see that selective morality about exports. The bulk of Turkmenistan's exports went and still go to Ukraine. It was the reason that Ukraine got such a cheap price. As of 2007 Turkmenistan started to push for fair prices so that Russia has to pass them on to Ukraine since it is just re-export. Of course, it must be Russia's fault for terrorizing poor Ukraine. I wonder how Turkmenistan is supposed to fill Nabucco and supply Ukraine and China at the same time. Before engaging in an orgy of Russia hate, the EU leadership should get some advice about the volumes of gas that Turkmenistan can export. The only serious alternative to Russia is Iran (Qatar is already a supplier), which puts the whole nuclear hysteria into perspective. Yet another imperial project of NATO to secure diminishing resources.

I agree with you

Turkmenistan has a reserve of about 100 Tcf and produces ~2.5 Tcf per year(#10 world producer) and exports less than 1 Tcf.

The world eats 100 Tcf per year.
All the natural gas reserves in the world 6000 Tcf amount to 1200 Gboe.
I think expectations that natural gas can replace oil are greatly exaggerated.

What I find interesting is that Iran claims 900 Tcf of natural gas reserves, but produces only 3 Tcf of gas per year(#6 world producer)
and basically exports less than .1 Tcf(and is probably an importer).

The US claims 300 Tcf and produces ~20 Tcf (#2 producer).

OTOH, Qatar with 900 Tcf produces 1.5 Tcf and exports 1 Tcf.

This is material that Jean Laherrere sent me this afternoon. This is the discovery and production chart for Turkmenistan natural gas he produced in 2008.

Figure 20 "Annual curve of discovery, production, consumption & export gas in Turkmenistan"

According to Google translate, the material with it says:

Turkmenistan, which currently produces 70 G.m3 / a is committed to export 40 G.m3 / y in China through a pipeline under construction, in addition to 50 G.m3 / y in Russia and 8 G.m3 / a Iran

My presentation in Prague (April 2008) provided a final 3.5 T.m3 for gas of Turkmenistan, with the current data (indirect) a final 10 T.m3 seems preferable, giving a peak in 2040 for export of 100 G.m3 / = level has already committed to China, Russia and Iran.

The increase in gas reserves in Turkmenistan is good news for China, not necessarily for Europe.

This is a link to the document giving this and other information. It is from 2008.

This is a link to a 2007 document (in French) that includes forecasts that includes the FSU.

This is a world forecast of oil and for natural gas production by Jean LaHerrere, from this 2008 document, in English.

Jean's scale makes it look like there is more world gas than oil, but his note at the top indicates that there is really only half as much gas produced as oil. So majorian, I think Jean would agree with you--natural gas is not going to replace oil.

So Laherrere thinks the world has 3000 Gb (1000 Gb used + 2000 Gb to be used).
This is a lot more than Colin Campbell's 1000 Gb remaining.
So he thinks oil won't peak until 2030?

This is the same total as the USGS(951 Gb conventional + 434 Gb heavy + 651 Gb bitumen).
But heavy oil and bitumen is less than 1/5 of world conventional oil much of which is declining at field rates between 4.5% and 10%. The development of heavy oil is too slow to compensate for
declines in conventional resources.

We've already peaked IMO.

On gas, it's weird--he has 12000 Tcf as U, I have only 6000 Tcf. Is this the result of unconventional NG sources or does this include some methane hydrates?

I am surprised at the number 12000 Tcf which is 2400 Gboe.
It used to be considered by USGS(wild-ass guess) that the URR for gas and oil were the same.


But that was before methane hydrates and shale gas was discovered.

I knew for oil his estimates were higher than others. I hadn't really looked at world natural gas estimates.

Maybe he will send me another e-mail tomorrow explaining some of this. It is late now in France. He prefers not to comment directly.

Laherrere gives 350 Tcf on the strength of an estimate by the Gafney Co for a tiny but incredibly rich (250 Tcf) field called South Yoloten-Osman. This is about equal to the entire 'proven' natural gas reserve of the USA.

I'm not a geologist but the Gafney claim seems a bit implausible.

Of course I wonder about the offshore South Pars which is shared by Qatar and Iran. Iran says slow development is due to UN nuclear sanctions(?!).


I got some more information from Jean Laherrere. I don't have time this morning to do more than communicate what Jean says. He says:

Some of the comments to post 5792 request information on how I estimate ultimates. My best advice is to go to some of my papers like:

-Laherrère J.H. & JL Wingert 2008 "Forecast of liquids production assuming strong economic constraints" ASPOVII Barcelona 20 October aspofrance.org/news/aspo-vii-barcelona

-Laherrère J.H. 2008 « Peak (or plateau) of fossil fuels »"Energy, Greenhouse Gases and Environment" Universidade Fernando Pessoa Porto Portugal 6-8 October aspofrance.viabloga.com/files/JL_Porto_long_2008.pdf

-Laherrère J.H. 2008 «Why are remaining oil & gas reserves from political/financial sources and technical sources so different? » International Geological Congress Oslo 11 August aspofrance.viabloga.com/texts/documents or

-Laherrère J.H. 2008 «Why are remaining oil & gas reserves from political/financial sources and technical sources so different? » International Geological Congress Oslo 11 August http://aspofrance.viabloga.com/texts/documents
(in 3 parts)

But the most important is that for unconventional the size of the tank does not matter it is the size of the tap.

I guess that - like with oil - the differences might depend on different expectations about the world's maximum available purchase power for buying gas (and oil) - to invest in new production. Campbell mainly focuses on "cheap oil" (which has obviously peaked already), and he is less optimistic that we can afford to invest in more expensive production (unconventional sources etc.), whereas others don't think that in the hydrocarbon business money will matter that soon.
We'll see who is right in a few years.

The TAPI pipeline has been on the drawing board since 2003 and I believe that is where it will stay.

Nobody is going to spend billions building a pipeline through the failed states,Afganistan and Pakistan.The situation in those countries is not likely to change,except for the worse.

However, it does appear that Pakistan will receive gas via pipeline from Iran.

Turkmenistan-Iran-Pakistan pipeline ?


No these are separate pipelines - see the map for the TAPI - the sources are different gas fields, so that Pakistan would get gas from two different sources and pipelines with the TAPI and the Iranian - Pakistan - India pipeline (which is in doubt because the Indians have concerns).

I was aware of this, but Turkmen NG into NE Iran allows more Iranian NG into Pakistan and the two pipelines could be connected if warranted. I suspect Turkmen gas will displace some LPG as well.

Adding a second pipeline next to an existing one is usually easy to do.


Does Turkmenistan truly "hold the world’s fourth largest reserves" of natural gas?

I looked at EIA data (certainly not always to be trusted, I know) and Saudi Arabia is #4 with Turkmenistan at #17.

Where can I find a reliable ranking by country of worldwide natural gas reserves?

Kevin Walsh
Chicago Peak Oil

The CIA Factbook ranks Turkmenistan #12 in natural gas reserves:


I know that there was an audit last year of some of Turkmenistan's reserves. This supposedly indicated that the reserves were world class. This audit is continuing into 2009. I think it is this audit that is moving Turkmenistan up in the reserve rankings.

It is my strong belief that the U.S.military's involvement in Afghanistan is directly related to the large reserves of natural gas in Turkmenistan. It seems that the U.S. interest in increasing troop levels in Afghanistan jumped a notch along with the recently publicized discovery of the very large large natural gas reserves in the Yoloten-Osman gas field in southern Turkmenistan. Khandahar does just happen to lie atop the route of the TAPI gas line.

Too much of the time since 2001 it appears that the U.S. military may be a wholly owned subsidiary of the international (i.e. American and British)oil companies).

Is there anyone out there that can provide factual information that correlates our military's involvement in Afghanistan with the central asian region called Pipelinestan? If so, how about providing your insights here. Linking central asian energy resourcees to central asian geopolitics might help to make more sense of why young Americans are fighting and dying in that area of the world.

I know I have heard this connection mentioned before.

I can understand the US being concerned about getting the oil from Iraq. But it is harder for me to understand what the connection is with the gas from Turkmenistan. It is not like the US is directly going to get much benefit from the natural gas, are they? It is not like the US is out to protect someone else, like Pakistan or India, is it?

In a world occupied by only a handful of major powers each of which feels compelled to distrust all the others to a greater or lesser extent as the price of survival,no major power dares allow another to gain control of such vital resources as the oil and gas of the middle east.

Whoever holds the resources of the middle east controls the future-and by the future our federal government means our "nonnegotiable lifestyle."

Only the impossibly niave can possibly believe that the age of forcible conquest is over-we do try to be rather nice about it,when compared to other countries,actually going to great lengths to improve the lives of the locals whereever we send our troops and actually paying for the loot we take away.

The Saudi govt probably wouldn't last thirty days w/o our backing them up-the truth of the matter is that (except for the religious mobs mostly)the cooler heads in the middle east realize that all thier countries would have become conquered Chinese or Russian provinces long ago -unless perhaps the Germans, the Japanese, or the English decided on another high risk go.

There is no doubt that the local people are as tough and determined as any known to history,as proven by history itself.

But in times past the invaders had nothing to offer such as we have to offer the winning faction that aligns itself with what the rich and technically sophisticated west can offer today-everything from airconditioning to personal airliners.The faction on top will over the long run continue to align itself with the dominant world power-else it won't be on top very long.Making sure of this is what secret services are FOR.

We cannot leave-unless we are willing to give up our bau economy lifestyle and economy.I don't think anyone capable of getting to the top of the political heap in this country thinks otherwise and certainly there is very little evidence that either the two major parties in the country believes otherwise,although the democrats get some mileage out of pretending otherwise.

I'm very well aware that this situation is inherently unstable and unsustainable over the long run-but I simply can't see a superpower throwing down a winning hand and quitting the game.

I don't like it-but this IS the way IT IS.

Any layman who has not read Yergin's The Prize -or at least two or three other histories of the oil industry in ther middle east-simply has no idea what the real score is in that part of the world.No soap opera can touch it.

Yergin may be selling a lot of snake oil these days but he is one hell of a fine writer and his book is well documented.

Gail -- I don't really belive what I'm about to say but it could be a possibility. If, in fact, the US military is making stratigic moves into certain regions of the world in order to secure our energy future having some control over Turk et al NG would give us a bargaining chip with China down the road. I.E. We allow Turk NG to flow to China and China releases some of its hold on Venez. heavy crude. I don't beleive our politicians have that much foresight but I been wrong before. In my view of the future world the militarially strong will divide the remaining FF on a fairly peaceful basis. Having a strong military/political hold on Turk NG would be very adventageous if the big reserve numbers thrown about are close to true.

I hadn't thought about that control of the pipelines as being a bargaining chip, but that might make sense.

Gail -- No one can predict the future of course but I see a developing strategy of "protecting resources." There are two rationales for such efforts. First, terrorism isn't going to disappear. As the US extends their influence over foreign resources, those resources will become a prime target. I expect our gov't will take full advantage of this situation. We'll be protecting the exports of the countries we "defend". Of course, we'll have to defend them because our presence makes them a target. When the resource scramble begins in earnest can you picture the US backing out of Iraq? Afghanistan, neighbor to all the other "stans?

Second, defending sovereign rights will easily be justified. This is what I would dub the "Chinese model" of resource control compared to our "defending freedom" model. For more than 15 years the Chinese have been establishing ownership of in ground reserves around the world. And are expanding that effort daily. Let's use Venezuela as an example. The Chinese have contracted many 10's of billions of $'s of Vz crude still in the ground. Assume one day Chavez loses control (with or without US help). It won't matter to the Chinese: their deal is with the Vz gov't...not Chavez. And now they are in the process of buying one of the biggest refineries (Valero's Aruba) in the western hemisphere. At the same time they've signed another deal ($16 billion) for more Vz heavy crude. Not only will the Chinese have sovereign control of a big chunk of heavy crude the Gulf coast refiners had assumed was theirs for the asking the Chinese gov't will also control one of our country's biggest sources of refined products.

We couldn't beat the Chinese in neither the World Court nor on the battle field. On the other hand, the Chinese would have a very difficult time displacing our military once they've established their presence in a region. Thus I see a world where MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) is replaced by MADOR: Mutually Assured Division Of Resources. Nothing really new in my thoughts: watch "Three Days of the Condor" again. As the CIA section chief says: When the American people are suffering they won't care how we fix the problem.

My guess is that the Chinese will sell the fractions they don't need (asphalt, gasoline, pet coke ??) in the Western Hemisphere (not necessarily to the USA) and bring the rest back home via the enlarged Panama Canal (opens 2014).


There was a much more serious reason that we went into Afghanistan, and it is not one that we are likely to forget.

You are right on there but...has anyone been able to get out of Afghanistan with their rear end intact??? Not so far it seems.

The USA went into Afghanistan because of Imperial intentions. Mike Ruppert says it all with "Crossing the Rubicon". Chalmers Johnson with his book "Nemesis" makes a good case. Its all about defending the dollar and to secure and control the worlds resources. There is no honorable reason the USA went to Afghanistan. 9-11 is just an excuse to go and TPTB let and wanted it to happen. Bush, Obama and Co. use fear to take power, there is no terrorist threat.

You really think the U.S. had big plans to sink its military in the historically proven tar pit of Afghanistan and was just waiting for an excuse to jump into that excuse for a country? I don't even think our planners are that dumb. It is a unique place though, an in the middle of nowhere that is right smack in the middle of colliding empires, repeatedly!

It rather looks as if the US govt simply wanted to *control* the oil (and gas) rich Middle East (so far they obviously didn't succeed).

Just a few weblinks about this:

„King Hussein of Jordan, for example, told Gen. Schwarzkopf in January 1989,…...
…Spurred by the rapid diminution of Soviet aggressiveness under Mikhail Gorbachev, Gen. Schwarzkopf worked to supplant USCENTCOM’s primary war plan, which involved a war against the Soviets in Iran, with a more realistic scenario. The strategy of the original plan called for five and two-thirds divisions to march from the Arabian Gulf to the Zagros Mountains and prevent the Red Army from seizing the oil fields of Iran. Instead, Gen. Schwarzkopf began to plan for what he thought was a far more likely situation: Iraq, emerging from eight years of war against Iran with the world’s fourth-largest and most battle-hardened army, moving south to capture the rich oil fields whose output was essential to the industrial world….“

The author Jay E. Hines is the historian of the United States Central Command.

And an analysis from

"...Kazakhstan’s offshore oil discoveries are significant within this context of diminished world availability, and thus are “vast” or “rich” in terms of potential corporate profitability. They are not, however, “vast” in the context of real energy geopolitics.
Readers from outside the oil industry, seeing glowing El Dorado appraisals of Caspian resources, may understandably confuse these two quite different contexts; but this is a serious mistake. After Saudi Arabia, Iraq holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Probably the United States invaded Afghanistan, primarily, not because of a possible Afghanistan/Caspian pipeline route, but because the Taliban government represented a center for unifying Islamic fundamentalist resistance to US control of the Middle East. It is significant also that after its bombing of Afghanistan the US did not turn its military might on Kazakhstan, although the Kazakhstani government is not “democratic” and has not been entirely compliant to western corporate interests.(21) Instead, there was the invasion of Iraq. Often repeated ‘truths’ are not necessarily true. It is important that each ‘truth’ be examined with as much critical energy as possible."

You may guess yourself what you think about it.

I'm wondering why the latest greatest article by Gail, 'Is There Any Silver Lining to a Collapse Scenario?' does not allow for comments. What gives?

My apologies. I forgot to "turn the comments on" when I put it up, before leaving the house for an hour or so.

The comments automatically turn off, if a post sits in queue over a week.

The pipeline to Afghanistan and Pakistan may sound promising.
Such a pipeline would free the Middle Asian countries from Russia's export monopoly power and change the entire geopolitical picture.
But such plans of southbound pipelines have been around for decades - and never got ahead.

Excellent article, but I am a bit puzzled about this remark:
"Now at the moment Turkmenistan is extracting gas and storing it"
What sense does it make for Turkmenistan to store its own gas?
The only storage capacity for *large* gas amounts I know are old exploited gas fields, so they would pump the gas out from a "new" field and pump it back down into an old one. This makes only sense for gas importing countries (e.g. in Central Europe) in order to level out shortages, but not for Turkmenistan.
Or do they store it in surface tanks? As these tanks would be quite expensive for an interim solution this could only mean a small amount of gas, which would shed doubt about the entire message.

Good point to mention. I was puzzled about that one too.

You are right - it was a poor choice of words since in large measure Turkmenistan is not extracting the gas, but keeping it stored in the original reservoirs. Sorry!!