Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (right) with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (file photo) (CTK)
13 February 2006 -- Energy officials from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan arrived in Turkmenistan today for talks on a pipeline to export Turkmen natural gas.
The talks are due to start tomorrow. The pipeline would cost an estimated $3.5 billion to build and would have an annual capacity of 33 billion cubic meters.
The 1,680 kilometer pipeline project has been on hold since the 1990s, when the Taliban movement came to power in Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan is the second-biggest gas producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia.
Click on the map for an enlarged image.
Russia's rising appetite for Central Asian gas is a direct result of the shifting fortunes of Gazprom, the state-run Russian company that controls lucrative exports. The company's total gas production has flatlined at around 550 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year. With major fields yielding less as they age, Gazprom has chosen to maintain its all-important gas balance by purchasing gas on the side -- from independent producers in Russia and from Russia's Central Asian neighbors -- instead of investing in the lengthy and costly development of untapped Arctic fields...(more)
Who's Afraid Of Gazprom? Controlling Gas Pipelines