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German Oil Firm Says Turkmen Gas Important For EU Supplies

A leading German oil producer working on a Turkmen natural gas field says that energy reserves in Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea are an important supply of energy for the European Union, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

RWE Dea General Manager Heiko Oppermann told RFE/RL today that the company's first step is to explore the gas reserves in the area and drill an exploration well after seismic testing is completed.

Oppermann said the company is optimistic about the Turkmen gas reserves. He added that different options on gas transport from Turkmenistan to the West exist, but no definite plans have been made.

In July, RWE Dea was awarded the rights to explore License Block 23 in the southeastern region of the Caspian Sea in Turkmen waters and in October established an office in Ashgabat.

Oppermann said RWE Dea has extensive experience in developing shallow-water oil and gas resources in ecologically sensitive environments. He said the work will be completed in accordance with European standards and that in the first stage of exploration an environmental study will be made.

The area of License Block 23 comprises some 940 square kilometers.

Turkmenistan has the fourth-largest gas reserves in the world.

In October, the British oil advisory firm Gaffney, Cline and Associates said after conducting tests that gas reserves at the Southern Yolotan-Osman field are estimated at some 14 trillion cubic meters of gas.