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Turkmen President Orders Investigation Into Pipeline Blast


Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has instructed his government to work with international experts to determine who is responsible for an explosion on the main natural gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Russia last week that cut the flow of gas to Russia.

The blast has increased tension between the two countries and could lead to a Ukraine-style "gas war," the Russian daily "Kommersant" reported on April 13.

Platts, which provides information on global energy and commodities issues, says Gazprom had asked state energy company Turkmengas to reduce its gas deliveries to Gazprom by 90 percent, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to comment last week on reports that Gazprom had cut the flow of gas, causing a technical problem that led to the explosion.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said on April 8 that Gazprom without warning sharply reduced the volume of gas being taken from the Turkmen pipeline.

Turkmenistan angered Russia during a visit by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to Moscow last month by refusing to sign a Trans-Turkmen pipeline deal.
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