Turkmen gas reserves audit to continue in 2009 -GCA
ALMATY Oct 31 (Reuters) - Britain's Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA), commissioned by Turkmenistan to evaluate its gas resources, plans to audit a number of fields there next year to provide a fuller picture of the nation's total reserves.
GCA Business Development Manager Jim Gillett said his company had completed the audit of two largest Turkmen fields this month, ranking one of them, South Iolotan-Osman, as the world's fifth- or fourth-largest gas deposit.
"We expect to move on to other fields probably in the new year," Gillett told Reuters by telephone from Britain.
He confirmed an earlier report by the Turkmen state news agency that put reserves of the South Iolotan-Osman field between 4 trillion and 14 trillion cubic metres (tcm) with the best estimate at 6 tcm.
Turkmenistan, which sells most of its natural gas to Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM), has ambitious plans to supply Europe, China, Pakistan and India but needs to confirm its massive reserves before embarking on new projects.
Turkmenistan has also said South Iolotan-Osman could produce about 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year, roughly as much as the whole country produces at the moment.
GCA has put the best estimate for the reserves of another Turkmen field, Yashlar, at 700 bcm while its maximum estimate is 1.5 tcm.
Turkmenistan says its total reserves exceed 20 tcm -- much more than the 2.9 tcm estimated by BP (BP.L) in its annual statistical review.
The world's top gas producer, Russia, has 47.65 tcm of gas reserves and Iran has 28.13 tcm. (Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by Anthony Barker)
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