Last week, Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, gathered regional leaders in his marble capital ostensibly to mark Navruz, the Persian New Year. But he seemed more interested in talking gas and transportation deals than jumping over any fires, as Zoroastrian tradition instructs.
There’s a potentially huge story developing in Tajikistan: Central Asia’s poor cousin may be sitting atop a vast pool of oil and natural gas. Yet, no one in Dushanbe – neither government officials, nor energy company executives – seems eager to discuss the prospect of an energy boom.
In the Caspian Sea’s choppy waters off western Kazakhstan’s coast, D-Day is approaching on a man-made mound called D Island. It is the nerve center of the Kashagan field, the world’s biggest oil discovery in decades.
Azerbaijani officials appear to buy into the idea that taxation policy can be an effective way of managing the environment. While environmentalists are generally supportive of a government idea to introduce a “green tax” on companies, some experts voice concern that such a provision would be prone to manipulation.
The United States is facing some interesting diplomatic choices in South Asia. Washington is no doubt cheered by Turkmenistan’s recent commitment to ship natural gas via Afghanistan to India and Pakistan.