At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on January 7, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ordered to extinguish the Darvaza gas crater located in the Karakum Desert, the state information agency TDH reported .
Addressing Deputy Prime Minister Shakhym Abdrakhmanov , who is in charge of the oil and gas industry , the head of state noted that for many years a huge amount of gas has been burned in the Darvaz region, which negatively affects the environment and the health of people living nearby.
"Thus, raw materials are lost, for the export of which one can obtain significant profits ," the head of state emphasized. In this regard, the Deputy Prime Minister was instructed to gather scientists, and, if necessary, attract foreign consultants and find a solution to extinguish the fire.
“And we will find gas, where to use it,” Berdymukhamedov said.
The President also recalled that he began the new year with a working trip to Mary and Lebap velayats, where he met with oil and gas workers and heads of foreign companies, and also got acquainted with projects for the development of new oil and gas fields. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that in the near future he will visit other regions of the country.
In November, Chronicles of Turkmenistan reported that police posts had been set up around the crater in Darvaz, known as the Gates of Hell, and that the passage to the crater was closed for local residents. Then people were told that possible gas emissions could lead to poisoning, burns or sinkholes. According to law enforcement officials, only tourists who have permission from the State Tourism Corporation "Türkmensyýahat" can go to the crater.
Meteozhurnal notes that 11 years ago, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov already instructed government members to attract scientists and find a way to extinguish the crater for the same reasons.
In a comment to the Moscow speaking radio station, Russian geologist Alexander Solyonyi doubted the success of the idea to extinguish Darvaza, since "only a directed explosion will help to stop the burning in the funnel, which will lead to the collapse of a natural object, but the procedure itself will become very costly."
The geologist suggested that Turkmenistan would not be able to find funds and specialists capable of carrying out such an explosion.
In addition, even if the flame is extinguished, the gas will continue to come to the surface, thus creating another source of methane emissions into the atmosphere. In October, Bloomberg reported that, thanks to satellite observations, since 2019, Turkmenistan has recorded 31 of the 50 largest greenhouse gas leaks in the world. Thus, in terms of methane emissions, Turkmenistan is second only to the United States and Russia.
The burning crater Darvaza is a popular tourist site that emerged in 1971, after Soviet geologists discovered an accumulation of underground gas at this place. The installed oil rig fell into the void, forming a deep crater. To prevent gases harmful to people and livestock from escaping, they decided to set them on fire. Geologists assumed that the fire would go out in a few days, but they were wrong. Gas continues to burn for 50 years. The crater is popularly called the "Gates of Hell". The authorities tried to rename the object to “Garagum ýalkymlary” (Garagum ýalkymlary), but the name did not stick.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan