Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (file photo) (RFE/RL)
3 January 2006 -- Moldova's president says Turkmenistan has offered to start negotiations about delivering gas to Moldova following Russia's decision to cut supplies to Moldova's neighbor Ukraine.
A statement from President Vladimir Voronin's office says Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said Turkmenistan is willing to deliver natural gas "on a contract basis and in the necessary amount both to Ukraine and to Moldova, as well as to other countries."
Moldova has not received any Russian gas since 1 January, after state-run gas monopoly Gazprom said it would double the price it charges. Moldova said the price increase was unacceptable.
Moldova buys Russian gas through a pipeline in neighboring Ukraine, which is also embroiled in a dispute with Gazprom over prices.
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- Ukraine consumes 70 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year. It produces 20 bcm of its own gas, has a signed contract to import 40 bcm from Turkmenistan, and in 2005 was getting 29 bcm from Russia as payment for transit of Russian gas.
- Ukraine sells some 7 bcm of gas a year to the West and places some in underground storage facilities. These facilities can hold 34.5 bcm.
Ukraine is the sixth-largest consumer of gas
in the world and uses more gas than Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia combined.
- Russia has proven gas reserves of 47 trillion cubic meters (tcm) -- the largest in the world ahead of Iran and Qatar.
Russia sells approximately 160 bcm to Europe each year.
By 2015, Europe is expected to import 300 bcm, or 40 percent of its projected needs from Russia.
Russia's Gazprom is the world's largest gas company.
It is the only company allowed by Russian law to export gas outside the borders of the CIS. It also owns the gas-transportation system and most of the gas fields in Russia.
The Russian state is Gazprom's majority shareholder
, with a 51 percent share. The company's ownership rights changed as of the beginning of 2006, with Gazprom stock being sold on the open market. The Russian state, however, will continue to hold the majority stake.