August 14, 2008

Tajik Energy Official Looks at Country’s Oil and Gas Production Potential

An official from the Tajik Ministry of Energy and Industry looks at the country's oil and gas production potential and says that the state of the oil and gas sector has been worsening due to several reasons including financial and technical ones. The ministry official, K. Fayzulloeva, says that there are over 40 promising oil and gas deposits in Tajikistan, and stresses the need to attract domestic and foreign investments into developing these deposits. The following is an excerpt from the report "Hydrocarbons of Tajikistan: Prospects for development", published by the Tajik newspaper Biznes I Politika on 7 August; subheadings inserted editorially:

Tajikistan has been experiencing difficulties over the past 10- 15 years in various sectors of its national economy. Undoubtedly, the energy sector plays the most important role for any country in the world in developing its economy. This is especially the case for Tajikistan. The oil and gas industry plays the most important role in the sectors of the country's fuel-energy complex as over 98 per cent of oil and gas products are imported into the country.

Over the past 50 years, 25 oil, gas and gas condensate deposits were discovered in Tajikistan. Most of them are still being developed even as of today. The maximum production volume falls on the years of 1973 and 1979, when over 520m cu.m. of gas and 418,000 cu. m. of oil were extracted respectively [as published].

Today the country's prospected reserves of oil, gas and gas condensate constitute less than one per cent of the total hydrocarbon reserves, which, in turn, are estimated at 1.033bn tonnes of equivalent fuel. Most of these resources, that is, 915m tonnes are in Tajikistan's southwest.

These reserves are divided up into the following in terms of depth: 370m t of equivalent fuel at the depth of up to seven kilometres and 546m t of equivalent fuel at the depth of over seven kilometres. Oil and gas resources in northern Tajikistan are estimated at 118m t of equivalent fuel.

Analyses of the production volume of Tajikistan's fuel-energy resources show that the country extracted 10-20 times less gas and 8- 15 times less oil, including gas condensate, in 2003 as compared to the 1990's. Thus, the energy dependency of the economy and population on imported oil products has further deepened.

[Passage omitted: political events of the 1990's negatively affected the country's oil and gas sector]

Due to many well-known reasons (economic, financial, technical, personnel and others), the state of the oil and gas sector has continuously been worsening. The exhaustion of reserves of the deposits that have been developed, the state of the stack of wells, production means, the obsolescence and ageing of the infrastructure, prolonged interruption in the prospecting work will not allow halting the further deterioration of the sector's condition.

Currently, the average annual extraction of oil constitutes 0.65 per cent, and that of gas 0.15 per cent out of the total reserves being extracted now. However, this indicator must be over five per cent for the normal functioning of the industry and its development. This can be achieved by attracting large financial means, highly qualified specialists and advanced technologies, such as formation breakdown and fracturing, pumping out fluid from depths of 2,500 and below metres, horizontal wells along the stretch of beds that are being developed, isolation of water-bearing zones through injecting reagents into them and so on.

[Passage omitted: Cretaceous-Palaeogene patterns remain important in the near future]

Currently, there are over 40 promising oil and gas deposits. Of them, the most studied are the areas of Sarykamysh, Kashkokum, Kiziltumshuk, Eastern Supetau, Yalghyzkak, Sargazon, Khanaka and others with predicted oil reserves of 38.9m tonnes and 852bn cu. m. of gas. The economic situation in the country today does allow developing these deposits. For the development of these deposits, it is necessary, first of all, to attract domestic and foreign investments and conduct the following work. All efforts should be channelled into attracting domestic and foreign investments and improving the climate of cooperation. It is necessary to create favourable conditions for attracting both local and foreign investors who want to invest in the development of the oil and gas sector (providing privileges up to tax exemption).

[Passage omitted: training specialists is also important]

Originally published by Biznes i Politika, Dushanbe, in Russian 7 Aug 08 p 5.

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