1 May 2007 - 10:15
  • News Code: 103562

ASHGABAT - Turkmenistan"s Cabinet of Ministers has approved an array of measures to implement the recent Moscow agreements, specifically the proposal to build a gas pipeline system along the Caspian Sea.

During President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov"s visit to Moscow April 23-24, Turkmenistan and Russia agreed to expand cooperation in the gas sphere. Moscow sought to secure guarantees on gas deals signed under his predecessor, and to counter attempts by the U.S. and its allies to reroute some of the Central Asian state"s gas exports away from Russia.


Addressing a Cabinet session, Berdymukhammedov urged the government to ensure effective implementation of the agreements.


President Vladimir Putin said earlier Russia "had launched a new leg of the gas pipeline system along the Caspian Sea and was currently pumping more than 5 million cubic meters of gas through it daily."


Putin suggested Russia modernize the 1974 Central Asia-Center gas pipeline that runs from Turkmenistan via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Russia, and build a new leg on the Caspian"s eastern coast via Kazakhstan.


Turkmenistan possesses the world"s fifth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources.


On September 5, 2006, after Turkmenistan threatened to cut off supplies, Russia agreed to raise the price it pays for Turkmen natural gas from $65 to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters. Two-thirds of Turkmen gas goes through Russian energy giant Gazprom.


Russia has a gas contract with its former Soviet ally stretching into 2028. And Gazprom has signed a separate deal until 2009 with Turkmenistan, which is to supply 162 billion cubic meters of gas to the Russian monopoly at $100 per cubic meter, two-and-a-half times lower than gas prices for Europe.


The death in December of Niyazov, who ruled the country with an iron hand for 21 years, prompted the United States, Europe, and Georgia to step up efforts to persuade Turkmenistan to return to a project to build a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to supply gas to southern Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.


The ex-Soviet republic, which possesses the world"s fifth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources, has reassured Moscow of its commitment to existing gas deals, while also signaling interest in diversifying its export routes.



News Code 103562

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