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Muslim clergy, elders, and President Saparmurat Niyazov (right) pray at the opening of a gas compressor station in 2005 (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
April 21, 2006 - President Saparmurat Niyazov says Turmenistan's oil and gas fields on land will be off-limits for foreign companies.
Niyazov told a cabinet meeting broadcast today that foreign companies would be allowed to work in energy fields in Turkmenistan's section of the Caspian Sea only if they treat Turkmenistan as "an equal partner."
Niyazov added that a number of foreign companies have shown an interest in the Gasankuli oil field on the shores of the Caspian Sea. He did not name them.
Niyazov also set a target for his country to produce 10 million tons of oil and 80 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year.
Turkmenistan is the second-largest gas producer in the former Soviet Union.