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Exploration companies face considerable challenges with respect to the development of remote natural gas resources. “Stranded gas” reserves, for which no current market opportunities exist, represent a considerable proportion of the worldwide resource base. In many cases, the presence of significant amounts of associated natural gas can delay crude oil exploitation in frontier areas. Companies often have no choice but to flare the gas (an option that is becoming less acceptable environmentally) or re-inject (an option that is often quite expensive). New technologies on the horizon could accelerate monetization of these resources. Otherwise, market development for stranded gas hinges on policy and regulatory frameworks to facilitate transportation, local distribution, and conversion to power or to create industrial end uses. Turkmenistan, with its rich natural gas reserves and remote position in the Caspian basin, represents a useful case in point. An analysis of transportation options for Turkmenistan brings together the wide range of factors that can impact the development of remote gas resources, from geopolitical concerns to assessment of end use markets. A number of key considerations for exploration are raised.

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