Turkmen breakthrough: why does the Prime Minister travels to Ashgabat?

27th March the Prime Minister of Armenia Karen Karapetyan, a two-day official visit to Turkmenistan. In Ashgabat he will meet with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Deputy heads of the Cabinet of Ministers. Starting in January 2017 of the Armenian-Turkmen economic relations began to develop in an interesting way. Although the processes are at the backstage level and many details are not known, but the sequence of events gives the opportunity to draw some conclusions. This year its first official meeting the Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan met with ambassadors of Iran and Turkmenistan in Armenia. By itself, this meeting in a trilateral format is quite interesting. The Prime Minister then said that Yerevan is interested in development of trilateral economic cooperation Armenia-Iran-Turkmenistan, and it is possible to increase the volume of trade. From the official report of the government it becomes clear that the meeting discussed “the possibility of trilateral cooperation in the energy sector, its development, energy supplies and joint projects.”

You need to assume that the Prime Minister did the ambassadors of the substantive proposals of cooperation in the fields of energy and communications that they are interested in. Already the sixth of March the Deputy Minister of energy infrastructures and natural resources of Armenia Hayk Harutyunyan visited Turkmenistan. After his meeting with the Minister of energy and Chairman of the state concern “Turkmengaz” was officially announced that during the meeting they discussed the opportunities for energy trade, particularly gas and electricity.

A week later, on the 14th of March, took place in Yerevan session of the Armenian-Turkmen Committee for economic cooperation. The meeting was chaired by energy Ministers of Armenia and Turkmenistan. “We intend not only to implement envisaged projects, and to discuss promising cooperation projects. I am sure that we will be able to use the existing economic potential in full, in the interests of our countries and peoples,” during a meeting of Minister of energy of Armenia Ashot Manukyan. The next day the Minister of energy of Turkmenistan also met with Karen Karapetyan.

These intensive negotiations preceding the Prime Minister’s visit to Ashgabat, according to that, it seems, creates the energy corridor Armenia-Iran-Turkmenistan, in Ashgabat, if nothing prevents, will be reached a final agreement to it. Perhaps documents will be signed. It is, in all likelihood, the scheme of obtaining from Turkmenistan through Iranian territory instead of gas and the supply of electricity, which is in the format of Armenia-Iran.

Armenia receives from Iran 400 million cubic meters of gas, instead of, in the ratio of 1 cu/m of gas 3 kWh of electricity, paying the supply of electricity produced at TPP Hrazdan. The head of Gazprom Alexei Miller said that the intention is to triple the volumes of Iranian gas and export of electricity through operation of fifth power generating unit at TPP Hrazdan, which is the property of Gazprom. The opportunity is created due to the already culminating in the construction of the third high-voltage transmission line Iran-Armenia, the capacity of which is 400 kW. After its operation the total power exchange between the two countries will reach 1000 mW.

In addition, the statement of Miller itself means increase in volumes supplied to Armenia via Iran gas pipeline Iran-Armenia, is also becoming obvious that the Russian side is also beginning to show an interest in participation in energy projects in Iran. Earlier Moscow avoided it, creating obstacles for Armenia. If you keep in mind that the total transmittance of a gas pipeline Iran-Armenia is 2.5 billion cubic meters, and is used only 25% of this potential, it becomes clear that the pipeline can safely be used to import Turkmen gas. Does it cannot be excluded that Turkmenistan is seeking to join energy system of Russia-Georgia-Armenia-Iran.

If these projects are implemented, will be very realistic in the next stage, to put the question of exporting Turkmen gas via Armenia to Georgia and further to Europe, why not, and the construction of a new gas pipeline Iran-Armenia-Georgia with greater transmittance. The interest of the Turkmen and Iranian sides will create conditions for resolving the issue of investment for the implementation of these strategic projects.

Armenia will be able to break through the Turkish-Azerbaijani blockade, to key economic and political importance in the region and the political aspect to prevent Turkish plans to create a multilateral format with pan-Turkism Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.