Untapped resources in Central Asia promise great rewards and challenges

Posted on 15 October 2013

Central Asia offers vast potential for energy procurement, but challenges lie ahead for the region’s nations as well as the foreign players that are needed to develop energy resources, which could produce around 3% of global energy needs, the World Energy Congress was told on 15 October.

The area offers resources that include coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric power, said Davood Manzoor, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance. It’s time for all interested parties to create a framework that enables natural resource development to begin, he noted.

“Cooperation and collaboration is of the essence,” says Selahattin Hakman, Group President of Energy at Turkey’s Sabanci Holding. The Eurasian region has a long history of international trade and concurs that a “liberalized competitive market“ should be created. He said this would attract investment and foster partnerships with firms in the gas and electric sectors.

However, significant obstacles remain in exploiting these resources and delivering them to export markets. As a solution, Jeong Chang-seok, the Executive Vice President at Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC), said his nation should strike mutually beneficial agreements with such countries as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. He proposed a pact in which South Korea would develop these countries’ infrastructure in return for access to their natural resources.

Almassadam Satkaliyev, the Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Samruk Energy, said his country welcomes more foreign investment. As an example of the type of cooperation envisioned, he cited the construction of a trans-regional pipeline that will deliver natural gas to China.


This news story is based on the session Regional Crossroads, “Eurasia: Partnerships to unlock its full potential” at 2013 World Energy Congress.