Turkmenistan Pledges Gas Friendship with Russia

Russia will retain an exclusive right of importing Turkmenistan’s gas at least till 2028, the new Turkmen president promised to the Russian Prime Minister Thursday. Beijing is no rival to Moscow now since Turkmenistan’s deceased leader did not sign a gas supply treaty with China, thus making Gazprom the sole exporter of Turkmen gas.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov stayed another day after the inauguration of Turkmenistan’s new President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov for negotiations. The parties confirmed the execution of the two countries’ gas deal, which was signed by President Putin and then President Niyazov in 2003, and a contract between Gazprom and the Turkmen gas monopoly Turkmengaz.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller met Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Gurbanmyrat Ataev as the parties confirmed adherence to the contract which would see Turkmenistan importing gas to Russia till 2028.

Under the deal, Turkmenistan sells Russia up to 60 billion cu. meters of gas in 2007, 60-70 billion cu. meters in 2008 and up to 80 billion cu. meters each year till 2028. Turkmenistan will have to double its gas production to be able to carry out the contract. Last year Gazprom imported 42 billion cu. meters of gas from Turkmenistan.

Industry experts say the deal between Gazprom and Turkmengaz gives Russia an edge over Europe, the United States or China. Beijing no longer seems a rival to Moscow. A Kommersant source in the Russian delegation in Turkmenistan reports that the late President Saparmurat Niyazov simply did not have the time to close the deal with China.

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