Under the pressure of the world community, Turkmenistan is forced to solve the problem of exorbitant greenhouse gas emissions that take place in this Central Asian republic. Suffice it to say that the highest level of atmospheric pollution by methane is observed here. And, as you know, the so-called greenhouse effect causes global warming.
Currently, CH4 hydrocarbon emissions form a quarter of the factors on which Earth's climate change depends. According to scientists, the elimination of leaks directly at the fields is the best way to reduce harmful gas pollution and environmental poisoning.
East - a delicate matter
Recall: the President of the country, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, at the UN climate summit in Glasgow in 2021 (COP-26) noted, they say, Turkmenistan reduces greenhouse gas emissions through the introduction of advanced of technologies in all areas economicsfocusing primarily on methane. Now he declares his intention to implement a program aimed at reducing methane leaks in the domestic oil and gas industry. If environmental initiatives succeed, this will be a major milestone in overcoming the climate crisis. This time, Serdar Gurbangulyevich responsibly assured that his country would energetically join the process of both regional and global nature protection. But let me ask you, what has changed in this direction at the behest of Ashgabat in a year and a half? So far, nothing really.
One way or another, a number of relevant activities involve joining the implementation of universal obligations to reduce emissions on a planetary scale by 30% by 2030. The interdepartmental government commission, specially formed on June 2, will oversee this part. And on June 10, at a meeting of the Turkmen Cabinet of Ministers, the head of state approved the methane roadmap for 2023-2024. By the way, it is characteristic that the decree on the creation of the commission was signed by Berdimuhamedov a few days after the conversation with the US special envoy for climate change John Kerry. Among other things, it was about financial support for preventive activities and expert assistance.
The fact is that the West is well aware that in the Asian republics of the former USSR, due to the prevailing mentality, it is not customary to spend money on improving the environmental situation. Although, taking into account the excess profits from gas deals of the same Turkmenistan, God himself ordered to fork out for such needs. Thus, this country shares leadership with Australia in sales of hydrocarbon raw materials to the world's largest consumer - China. But, if you do not send investments to Ashgabat from outside (and on a gratuitous basis), no government will take care of the well-being of the environment. Here is such blackmail by default, such a struggle with our own leaks.
Have to babysit the whole world
The concept proposed by the president provides for the modernization of national legislation, partnership with foreign experts to create innovative projects, as well as cooperation with the Imeo International Methane Emissions Observatory. However, its leader Manfredi Caltagirone stressed in this regard: “After such messages, real work to reduce emissions should follow. Operators in Turkmenistan are required to measure at each of their facilities, provide transparent reporting and effectively mitigate the consequences of exploitation.”
The Middle Eastern Arabs have a certain influence on the leadership of Turkmenistan, with whom strong ties are maintained and there is a joint experience in gas and oil production. In addition, the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP-28) will be held in the United Arab Emirates in November-December of this year. The last visit to Ashgabat of the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, took place in February. The distinguished guest met with Berdimuhamedov to discuss bilateral partnerships "in vital sectors such as oil and gas." It is worth recalling that Abu Dhabi is one of the key participants in the Global Methane Programme. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Turkmens ended up being more accommodating regarding the fulfillment of the task before them.
It's time to stop this bad tradition.
The fact that Turkmenistan has a barbaric attitude towards environmental issues has been known since Soviet times. For example, in 1971, in order to dispose of an uncontrolled gas fountain from the Darvaza crater, it was set on fire; the torch is still burning. At first, the authorities treated it as a kind of desert exotic and sightseeing (they even established the protected zone “The Shining of the Karakum Desert”). At the beginning of last year, it was decided to put out the mentioned giant fire, because the continuous "burning of gas adversely affects the environment and the health of people living nearby, and natural gas, from which you can make significant profits, is thoughtlessly spent." However, things are still there, although European analysts say that such problems are easily eliminated. And this is happening against the background of the fact that in 2022 Turkmenistan again became the “champion” in accidental technological leaks of CH4.
The most significant of them caused a negative effect equivalent to the impact of the volume of exhaust emissions of 67 million cars.
According to The Guardian, based on an analysis of satellite data, the free release of methane from only two key Turkmen wells into the atmosphere caused more damage in 2022 than, say, the entire UK volatile hydrocarbon. The western Khazar field on the coast of the Caspian Sea leaked 2,6 million tons of CH4. At the eastern Galkynysh field on the Amu Darya river, 1,8 million tons escaped. In addition, both fields emitted a total of 366 million tons of CO2.
Observers state that the increased frequency of natural emissions has already "come into conflict with the legislation of Turkmenistan." All troubles are caused by deterioration, unsatisfactory maintenance of communications and infrastructure in general, as well as due to the illegal release of associated gases into the atmosphere, produced together with oil. However, access to information on the ground in such a peculiar closed society as the Turkmen one is very difficult.[/left]