Since the breakup of the communist state, international companies have flocked to the newly independent countries such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Of the littoral states, Turkmenistan has by far the largest reserves when it comes to natural gas.
Geographic isolation and animosity with Azerbaijan long prevented the export of gas to customers in Europe.
The geographic isolation of Turkmenistan as a landlocked nation is the most important impediment to large-scale exports.
That changed somewhat with the ascendance of the Chinese economy and the massive demand for raw materials and energy.
Therefore, Turkmenistan is adamant about diversifying towards Europe.
The recent conclusion of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, which consists of the pipelines TANAP and TAP, from Azerbaijan to southern Europe also underlines the opportunity for Turkmenistan.
For the 1st time in decades, the export of natural gas from Central Asia to Europe directly is a viable option if the involved states play their cards well.
The TANAP and TAP pipelines are designed to transport 10 bcm to Europe and 6 bcm to the Turkish market from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field.
The 1st step towards a major deal could be announced in August after the summit in Turkmenistan's Awaza seaside resort that will be attended by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The presence of Turkish President Erdogan can be a sign of a breakthrough on the production side.
The problem, however, is more likely to be found on the demand side.
The European market is already well connected to producers through pipelines and LNG import facilities.
Furthermore, gas from Turkmenistan will head to southeastern Europe where Russia has aggressively built new pipelines to discourage competitors.
Also, the Central Asian gas is intended for a market that is rapidly transforming due to the energy transition.
The EU is decarbonizing and focussing on sustainability which will eventually reduce demand for natural gas in the long-term.
This affects the profitability of new large scale energy projects and reduces the likelihood of exports from Turkmenistan to Europe.
Nevertheless, expect the leaders from Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan to use invigorating language in August to underline their intentions to become a major exporter to Europe.
The coming 2 years will see whether such a deal can be struck for Central Asian gas to flow to an already saturated market.
Author: Vanand Meliksetian