The neutral status of the country arouses great interest from first-class foreign companies and ensures a serious flow of foreign capital into the national economy.
Building a constructive dialogue with countries interested in developing effective cooperation with Turkmenistan is the main goal of the foreign policy strategy of the country. It is based on the principles of positive neutrality, openness, and good neighborliness. The high profitability of the oil and gas sector of the national economy, including the world market conditions and prices for its products, as well as the favorable macroeconomic situation, made Turkmenistan attractive to foreign investors.
The American company Westport Trading Europe Limited (WTL) is a representative of the global business actively cooperating with Turkmenistan in the oil and gas industry. The director of the WTL branch in Turkmenistan, doctor of technical sciences, professor Allaberdi Ilyasov told about the company’s projects in an interview for CentralAsia.news.
— This year Turkmenistan celebrates the 25th anniversary of neutrality. In your opinion, does the status of permanent positive neutrality influence the expansion of international relations and the attraction of foreign companies?
— The foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan, based on its generally recognized international legal status of permanent neutrality, has been greatly developed in the modern historical stage. In this regard, the peaceful course of the country aimed at good neighborliness, equal, and mutually beneficial cooperation with other states and international organizations reaches a new higher level. Turkmenistan’s neutrality, from an economic and legal point of view, stimulates attracting foreign investment in the development of the most important projects of the century. These are the development of the Caspian Sea, and the transit of national energy to world markets. The country’s neutral determines the minimum level of foreign policy risks together with the richest resource potential and internal stability. It predetermined great interest in the country from first-class foreign companies and ensured a serious flow of foreign capital into the national economy. Now foreign companies are successfully operating in the country, including enterprises from China, the USA, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, and the European Union. They had a positive impact on the formation of the textile industry, the oil and gas complex. These companies also stimulated modernization of agriculture, construction of large-scale road and housing, re-equipment of the communication system.
— How long has your company been operating in the oil and gas sector of Turkmenistan?
— Today, WTL, has close cooperation with various state organizations of Turkmenistan. It successfully works in the oil and gas sector. For more than 20 years of work, many projects have been implemented in the Turkmen market. Using the experience of foreign enterprises in the application of modern technologies can improve the efficiency of the oil and gas industry. Our company has a branch registered in Turkmenistan and all the main works are carried out with the help of it.
— What business projects of Turkmenistan is the company involved in?
— In recent years, we have been actively participating in tenders held by the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan. At the same time, we propose to use innovations — the most advanced technology projects of leading manufacturers and researchers in the field of oil refining, as well as our original developments based on comprehensive scientific and practical research with oil from Turkmenistan. These are, first of all, proposals for improving the quality of gasoline, production of highly demanded oil needle coke, and so on.
— What projects has the company implemented in Turkmenistan?
— Our company has commissioned a technological plant for the production of road bitumen at the Seydi Oil Refinery (SOR). The area of the complex is 1.5 hectares and it is designed to process 118 thousand tons of fuel oil per year, of which 37.2 thousand tons of high-quality oil road bitumen are produced annually. This high-quality oil product was made due to research of the company’s research center. Our specialists made it possible to develop a technology that allows producing bitumen from Turkmen oil with a high percentage of paraffin content that is the same as similar foreign products. It fully complies with international standards. Another project of the company is associated with the production of high-quality gasoline of the Euro standard in 2016 at the refinery. In Turkmenistan, the production of fuel for automobile vehicles (gasoline and diesel fuels) is characterized by continuous improvement of environmental indicators of their quality, which helps to increase the operational properties of fuels and lubricants in general and increase the reliability in the operation of vehicles. The realization of the project is a response to two reasons: the need to increase the competitiveness of domestic fuels and lubricants in the international market, as well as the growing requirements for the environmental safety of vehicles.
— What project is the US company currently working on in Turkmenistan?
— Now the company’s specialists have started the construction of a complex of delayed coking and asphalt deasphalting units (DCU and DAO). DCU is intended for processing all heavy residues at the plant (tar, oil sludge, asphalt, and other residual products) into more valuable light oil products (gasoline, diesel fuels) and electrode coke. The construction of the DCU-DAO installation will positively affect the economic and environmental performance of the entire enterprise. An increase in the production of light petroleum products at the refinery of automobile gasoline, diesel fuel, liquefied gases (with further processing of liquefied gases into polypropylene) is among the relevant positive effects. The production of electrode coke of a higher quality than obtained, as well as the extraction from the tar of the basic raw material — deasphalting agent for the production of high-quality motor oils, high-quality bitumen, has the same effect on the economy. Regarding the significant moral and physical wear and tear of the existing DCU-3 unit, the commissioning of the DCU-DAO will allow the company to maintain the existing scheme for processing low-value heavy oil products to produce light oil products and will provide the necessary level of loading of connected units for raw materials.