Turkmenistan keen to boost gas exports to Russia: president
Turkmenistan's president told his Russian counterpart on Friday that Turkmenistan wants to increase its gas exports via Russia.
"Russia is our long-term partner, and so based on existing bilateral agreements, we are ready to boost natural gas exports to Russia," President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov told President Dmitry Medvedev, who is on a two-day visit to the energy-rich central Asian state.
The two leaders met in Turkmenbashi City, a small resort city on the Caspian Sea, renamed in 1993 after the country's late leader.
Russia, Turkmenistan and China in 2007 signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline along the shore of the Caspian Sea to boost supplies of central Asian gas to Europe.
Russia had wanted the line to join its planned South Stream pipeline to export central Asian gas to Europe via Russia, but the project stalled in the face of the economic crisis.
The world economic downturn has reduced European demand for gas, leaving Moscow doubtful over whether it needs the planned gas pipeline, the Kommersant business daily wrote Thursday.
Russia has dramatically reduced its purchases of Turkmen gas. In 2008, Moscow bought around 50 billion cubic metres while this year it imported only 7.9 billion cubic metres of gas, according to Kremlin figures.
© 2010 AFP