ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Russia has doubled the purchases of natural gas from Turkmenistan this year amid rising global demand, the Russian ambassador in Ashgabat said Friday.
Ambassador Alexander Blokhin said Russia this year stands to import about 10 billion cubic meters (353 billion cubic feet) of gas from Turkmenistan, nearly twice the amount imported in 2020.
This year’s volumes were on par with the period before 2016, when Russia halted gas imports from the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation amid pricing disputes and a slump in global prices.
Moscow resumed the purchases of Turkmen gas in 2019 when it signed a five-year contract envisaging annual deliveries of 5.5 billion cubic meters (194 billion cubic feet).
Turkmenistan is overwhelmingly dependent on exports of its vast natural gas reserves, and Russia’s 2016 move to halt supplies dealt a heavy blow to the Turkmen economy.
China has replaced Russia as the top export destination for the Turkmen gas. Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said the country annually supplies 40 billion cubic meters (1.4 trillion cubic feet) of gas to China.
Earlier this year, China’s state-owned CNPC started work to set up new wells at Turkmenistan’s giant natural gas fields in exchange for future gas supplies. Under the deal with CNPC, Turkmenistan will pay for its services by supplying 17 billion cubic meters (600 billion cubic feet) of gas a year for the period of three years to a total of 51 billion cubic meters (1.8 trillion cubic feet) of gas.
Turkmenistan also has been working to build a pipeline that would pump gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
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