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President Niyazov (file photo) (AFP)
23 January 2006 -- Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow that opens today.
Russian officials said the talks between the Russian and Turkmen sides are expected to focus on bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in the energy sector.
Gas from Turkmenistan is part of a deal between Russia and Ukraine reached earlier this month after Russia suspended gas supplies to Ukraine on New Year's Day.
Under the deal, Ukraine is to buy Russian and Central Asian gas -- including from Turkmenistan -- for an average of $95 per 1,000 cubic meters.
However, the deal has been condemned by some Ukrainian lawmakers, and Russia and Ukraine have still not signed the pact.
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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.