In world practice, there are several examples when one industry or a complex of industries becomes a fundamental driver for the growth of the national economy, as well as its large-scale diversification. In recent years, for Turkmenistan, this role has been played by the oil and gas complex.
In an interview to CentralAsia.news, an economic observer Valentin Trapeznikov told how Turkmenistan, having one of the world’s largest reserves of hydrocarbon resources, is steadily increasing the relevant production and GDP growth, occupying the leading positions in the world within the corresponding rate.
Large processing base
In 2021, a record amount of gas was produced over the years of independence — more than 83.7 billion cubic meters. The increase compared to the previous year was 20,0%. Production growth continued in 2022. For 4 months, about 29.3 billion cubic meters were produced, which is 1,6% more than in 2021. In general, Turkmenistan occupies a leading position in Central Asia in gas production and fully meets the country’s domestic needs.
In turn, the presence of oil and gas resources contributes to the development of the processing industry, primarily in the field of petrochemicals. Only in recent years, several major facilities have been put into operation in Turkmenistan and existing enterprises have been reconstructed.
First of all, these include a new gas chemical complex in Kiyanly, Balkan province, a plant for the production of gasoline from natural gas in Akhal province, as well as a radically modernized Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries (TCOR).
The product range of these enterprises includes polyethylene and polypropylene, polymer plastic products, a wide range of high-quality petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), synthetic detergents, and much more.
In 2022, TCOR started production of A-98 gasoline, which fully meets the quality requirements of EURO-6 and that means it’s environmentally friendly.
In the current year, for 4 months, the growth rate of gasoline production amounted to 3,0%, petroleum bitumen — 6,3%, petroleum coke — 10,3%, LNG — 12,8%, polypropylene — 5,8%, polyethylene — 24, 4%, gasoline from natural gas — 19,6%.
The productivity of the oil and gas complex also contributes to the development of the chemical industry. In particular, in recent years, the capacity for the production of nitrogen fertilizers has significantly increased. The Marykarbamid plant was built in 2014, and the Garabogazkarbamid plant was built in 2018. This made it possible to significantly increase the production of nitrogen fertilizers. This year, their production increased by 4,6% in 4 months.
The production capacity of nitrogen fertilizers made it possible, starting from 2014, to fully meet domestic needs with this product.
Growth in exports of petroleum products and electricity
The multiplier effect of the Oil and Gas Complex also contributes to the development of the domestic electric power industry based on natural gas. Thus, from 2007 to 2021, modern power plants were built in all regions of the country. A high-tech combined cycle power plant was built in Mary in 2018. It uses natural gas and steam as fuel and it is a unique facility in the Central Asian region.
In September 2021, another new gas turbine power plant was put into operation in the Lebap province. This increased the total capacity of the country’s existing power plants, which was 6511.2 MW, by another 432 MW. It was.
The meaningful multi-efficiency of the development of the Turkmen oil and gas complex is demonstrated within a significant increase in the export potential of Turkmenistan. Thus, in 2021, the growth rate in the value of exports of natural gas amounted to 32,6%, liquefied gas — 9,4%, petroleum products — 28,5%, gasoline from natural gas — 153,8%, petroleum coke — 94,5% , electricity — 37,3%.
The Garabogazkarbamid plant exported about half of the produced carbamide to Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. This year, the growth of exports of products of the fuel and energy complex continued. In particular, for the first quarter, it was 83,5% for natural gas, 41,8% for LNG, 89,6% for natural gas, 53,5% for petroleum coke, and 37,9% for electricity.
It should be underlined that Turkmenistan is the largest exporter of gas and electricity in the Central Asian region.