January 8, 2010
Asia Times

Russia, China, Iran Redraw Energy Map

by M K Bhadrakumar

The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran's northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan's vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is "apocalypse now" for the Islamic regime in Tehran.

The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

The 182-kilometer Turkmen-Iranian pipeline starts modestly with the pumping of 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas. But its annual capacity is 20bcm, and that would meet the energy requirements of Iran's Caspian region and enable Tehran to free its own gas production in the southern fields for export. The mutual interest is perfect: Ashgabat gets an assured market next door; northern Iran can consume without fear of winter shortages; Tehran can generate more surplus for exports; Turkmenistan can seek transportation routes to the world market via Iran; and Iran can aspire to take advantage of its excellent geographical location as a hub for the Turkmen exports.

We are witnessing a new pattern of energy cooperation at the regional level that dispenses with Big Oil. . . .


[Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.]

Lutz Kleveman, "The New Great Game," Guardian, October 20, 2003

Daniel Howden and Philip Thornton, "The Pipeline That Will Change the World," Independent, May 25, 2005

Michael T. Klare, "Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?,", January 16, 2007

"Energy Wars: The Destabilization of Baluchistan," The Wisdom Fund, July 12, 2009

Carola Hoyos, "China now world's biggest energy user,", July 19, 2010

Thandeka Gqubule and Andile Ntingi, "Brics move to unseat US dollar as trade currency," City Press, March 25, 2012

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