Due to its geographical location and proximity to Russia, Tajikistan is of strategic interest to Russia and, correspondingly, the Gazprom Group. Gazprom is interested in preserving the stable economic situation in Central Asia in general and Tajikistan in particular. Therefore, Gazprom is both a strategic partner to Tajikistan as well as its largest investor. The Group’s main objective in Tajikistan, besides purely commercial profit, is to guarantee the energy security of the republic, at a time when the country’s economy is experiencing a serious shortage of oil and gas. As part of this objective, Gazprom International is currently undertaking studies of potential oil and gas subsoil areas in Tajikistan, in the aims of identifying and further developing hydrocarbon fields in order to satisfy energy needs of the republic.
Since 2008, major exploration projects have been undertaken in Tajikistan at Rengan, Sargazon, Sarykamysh and West Shokhambary license blocks. Gazprom’s total investments in exploration are in excess of 6.7 billion rubles.
Gazprom began cooperation with the Republic of Tajikistan in 2003. To create the legal basis for future partnership, a 25-year Agreement on Strategic Collaboration in the gas sector (until 2028) was signed with the Tajikistan government in May 2003. Gazprom Zarubezhneftegaz (now Gazprom International) was appointed to implement projects in the country as operator. The agreement set out grounds for prospecting, exploration and the development of natural gas deposits, including ultra-deep geological formations, pursuant to production sharing conditions.
The document also set out the a number of other opportunities for the Russian side: field infrastructure development, overhaul and commissioning of inactive wells; construction, reconstruction and operation of gas pipelines and other infrastructure of the gas industry and provision of services; processing, transport and sale of gas, as well as the training of Tajik specialists at Gazprom's training centres. In 2006, Gazprom International opened a representative office in Tajikistan, and in 2008 Gazprom and the Tajikistan government signed an Agreement setting out the fundamental principles for conducting geological subsoil studies. This document became the foundation for implementing projects within the Republic.
License blocks Rengan, Sargazon, Sarykamysh and West Shokhambary
In 2006 Gazprom obtained licenses to explore the Sargazon (located 70 kilometres southeast of Dushanbe) and the Rengan (20 kilometres south of Dushanbe) potential oil-and-gas-bearing blocks. Although the active phase in the region had been commenced by Gazprom Zarubezhneftegaz only in 2008, after obtaining other two exploration licenses for the Sarykamysh (36 kilometres south-west of the capital of Tajikistan) and the West Shokhambary (20 kilometres west of Dushanbe) fields.
2D and 3D seismic field survey works, as well as gravity surveys have been done at the Sargazon block. Data processing results indicated that while the field was still theoretically promising, further development was commercially unviable at the present stage. Thus, the subsoil use license at the Sargazon block was given up.
Gravity surveys were conducted at the Rengan field. Survey analysis indicated that the geological and production settings of the area would make the production project economically unfeasible, at the present stage at least. As a result, the decision was taken not to renew the license for this area, ending in 2011.
In 2009-2010, Gazprom International carried out 3D seismic field survey works at the Sarykamysh field over an area of 125 square kilometres and gravity surveys over 175 square kilometres. After an integrated examination of survey results, experts produced a structural model of the field. In it they defined the drilling point of the first exploratory well, Shakhrinav-1P. Well drilling commenced in December 2010, and was finished in June 2013. The well had a planned depth of 6,300 metres, although during the construction phase this was increased up to 6,450 metres, to allow for better study of the potentially prospective area. As of today, Shakhrinav-1P is the deepest well in Central Asia in the history of oil and gas drilling in the region. By the end of 2014, testing of the discovered prospects was completed.
Preliminary estimates indicate that there are 18 billion cubic metres of anticipated gas reserves in the Sarykamysh area, while expected oil reserves amount to 17 million tones, and 2 billion cubic metres of solute gas. The overall investment in exploration at the license block amounts to around 6 billion roubles.
A total of eight oil and gas prospects were discovered during the drilling and integrated geological and geophysical operations stage. This is the first and only prospecting and appraisal well in Tajikistan to penetrate deep underthrust deposits. Until now, their oil and gas potential had not been known. Drilling provided unique geological data, confirming the scientists’ forecast of deep underthrust deposits’ oil and gas prospects. However, a commercially viable hydrocarbon inflow at Shakhrinav has not been obtained and Gazprom’s Central Commission on Subsoil Resource Use and Licensing Management took the decision to give up the license for the Sarykamysh area.
The West Shokhambary field initially occupied an area of 50 square kilometres. However, while analysing the geological and geophysical information, Gazprom International concluded that to identify and prepare the prospective oil and gas site in this area, it would need to extend the boundaries up to 247 square kilometres. Thus, in October 2010, the company's representative office in Tajikistan submitted the relevant application to the Republic's government and obtained its approval. The area borders Dushanbe from the west. Upon completing procedures necessary for amendments to the size of the field, in September 2012 a decision was taken to commence exploration in the West Shokhambary field. In 2014-2015 Gazprom International experts acquired and analysed the geological and geophysical data on the area, subsequently developing a plan, as well as design and estimate documentation. Finally, the Central Commission on Subsoil Resource Use and Licensing Management took the decision to give up the license due to extremely difficult geological and production settings.
In accordance with the 2008 Agreement, if geological exploration work does not yield the assumed outcome for the investor, its incurred costs will not be reimbursed. However, the investor is entitled to request a license for other prospective fields. Thus, Gazprom International is currently exploring the possibility of obtaining licenses for prospective oil-and-gas-baring fields in the southwest and north of Tajikistan.
Commercially viable hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in Soviet times, when reserves conducted in the most prospective areas were evaluated. Should the decision on participation in their development projects be made, Gazprom International’s scope will include preparation of feasibility studies, integrated exploration and field research activities, reinterpretation of prior data, evaluation of resource potential, full-scale well repair, and also further exploration and redevelopment of fields. Prospective fields are linked to the country’s existing gas transporting system. A joint Russian-Tajik venture is expected to be set up or a Production Sharing Agreement to be signed for the development of new fields, should they be discovered.
“We highly appreciate the trust and the support of the leaders of Tajikistan for Gazprom’s projects. On our behalf, we are ready and open for further full-scale cooperation with the Republic in the energy sector,” – said Andrey Fick, Managing Director and CEO of Gazprom International.
The Republic of Tajikistan is located in the Pamira foothills and does not have access to the sea. It borders Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to the north and west, China to the east, and Afghanistan to the south. The country's has an area of 143,100 square kilometres. Tajikistan is rich in natural resources, but since 93% of the Republic's territory is mountainous, extracting them is a complex task.
Tajikistan is one of the most picturesque regions of Central Asia. It is striking in the variety of its natural landscapes. The highest mountain ranges in this part of the world can be found here – Tian Shan and Pamir – with absolute altitudes from 300 to 7,495 m. Glaciers of unsurpassed beauty descend to the valleys from their peaks. Tajikistan holds a record in the Guinness Book of Records for the Nurek hydroelectric station. It boasts tallest dam in the world, offering a magnificent view over the surrounding mountain world. The blossoming plains are few in number but unusually beautiful, especially the Hisor valley, home to Tajikistan’s capital city of Dushanbe.
Tajikistan is the only Persian-speaking state in former Soviet Central Asia. The majority of the population of the Republic (as of 2000) are Tajik (about 80%); around 17% of the population are Uzbeks, 1.3% are Kyrgyz and less than 1% are Russian. The majority of Tajikistan's population are Sunni Muslims.
In 1924, Tajikistan became part of the USSR as an autonomous republic within the structure of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. The Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was formed on 16 October 1929, and on 5 December of the same year it joined the USSR with the rights of a union republic.
Planned industrialisation was carried out in the country during the 1930’s and during the Second World War. This was accompanied by a rebuilding of the national economy and an influx of qualified labour from Russia and the other republics of the USSR. The main specialisation of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was cotton. Meanwhile, in the 1960’s and 1970’s new sectors of the economy were created: machine building, textiles, electronics, chemicals and hydropower engineering.
Tajikistan acquired independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the USSR. Today, the head of the Tajik government is the President who can hold the post for two seven-year terms.
Tajikistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations.
Between 1992 and 1997, a civil war broke out in the Republic. The damage to the national economy during these years amounted to more than $10 billion.
Around 19% of GDP of the Republic comes from agriculture, 22% from industry, and around 60% from the service sector.
The country's economy is deeply dependent on funds remitted by expatriate labour. Money transfers to the homeland amount to around 50% of GDP. The number of Tajik citizens working in Russia exceeds 1 million people. The Republic's main export goods are aluminium and cotton.
The country possesses considerable potential in the hydropower sector that has still not been fully realised. The overall scope of hydroelectric energy resources is estimated at 527 billion kilowatt-hours, including 202 billion kilowatt-hours that are technically feasible, and 172 billion kilowatt-hours that are economically feasible for construction. Thus the state is one of the most secure in the world, in terms of this renewable energy source (eighth place in terms of absolute potential of output). Amongst CIS countries, Tajikistan is second only to Russia in terms of this indicator.
An example of the development of Tajikistan's hydroelectric sector is the Sangtuda hydroelectric station with a capacity of 670 MW, built jointly with the Russian Federation and commissioned in 2009.
In the same year, the South-North (LEP-500) and Khatlon-Chelanzar (LEP-220) high-voltage power transmission lines were constructed, enabling interconnection of the power supply systems of the southern and northern regions of Tajikistan.
In 2010, the Dushanbe-Khujand-Chanak (Uzbekistan) and Dushanbe-Jirgatol-Saritash (Kyrgyzstan) highways were built, and the Istiqlol road tunnel at the Anzob pass and Shar-Shar and Shakhristan road tunnels were constructed. They enable year-round road travel between the northern and southern regions of Tajikistan with access to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Tajikistan also has a developed mining industry. Examples include the Shurab brown coal deposit, non-ferrous metals (aluminium, lead, zinc, bismuth, mercury, tungsten, molybdenum, and gold), and the consumer goods industry closely linked with the processing of agricultural raw materials.
The climate in the Republic is continental with significant daily and seasonal fluctuations in air temperature, a small amount of precipitation, dry air and little cloud cover. The average temperature in January fluctuates from +2 to -2 °C in the valleys and the foothills of the southwest and north of the Republic to -20 °C, and drops lower in Pamir. The absolute minimum temperature reaches -63 °C in Pamir (Bulunkul). The average temperature in July is from 30 °C in the lower valleys of the Southwest to 0 °C and lower in Pamir. The absolute maximum temperature is 48 °C (Lower Pyanj). On rare occasions, the temperature can reach 60 °C.
The largest lakes in Tajikistan are Lake Karakul, Lake Sarez, Iskanderkul and the Kayrakkum Reservoir.
One of the largest silver deposits in the world – Great Konimansur – is situated in in the Sogd region, in the north of Tajikistan. Tajikistan is also rich in precious stones, uranium (according to some data, 16% of world supplies), gold, coal, aluminium and multi-metallic ores.
Administratively, Tajikistan is divided into 3 regions, one of which is autonomous. In addition, there are 13 dependent Republican regions in the central part of the country. One city (Dushanbe) possess special status. Each region is divided into districts, which in their turn are divided into jamoats (formerly village soviets), and then into dekha (villages).
As of the beginning of 2013, the population of Tajikistan was 8 million.