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Sea warriors: a disputed offshore field may leave Europe without Turkmen gas

This is an abridged version. The full text is avaiable to subscribers to The Russian Energy weekly.

An old conflict of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan who keep contesting the sovereignty over their border in the Caspian Sea is on the agenda again. The European Union’s hope of receiving natural gas from the Turk¬men shore is on the rocks, and the winners are Moscow and Baku.

On the frontier

On June 16 Azerbaijani border guards stopped a seismic vessel of Turkmenistan, which was surveying the Serdar block (known as Kyapaz in Azerbaijan) in the Caspian Sea.

Two days later the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan invited the ambassador of Turkmenistan and served him a note of protest against the surveying of the block, which Baku considers its own.

In Ashgabat, the foreign ministry of Turkmenistan issued a statement protesting the activities of Azerbaijani border guards vis-à-vis a vessel that was performing seismic operations ‘in the sector of the Caspian Sea, which has no relations whatsoever to Azerbaijan.’

The bilateral relations soured again, even though since the end of the past year the parties had been discussing a plan of building the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline between their shores and possible gas exports to Europe.

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