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Turkmenistan Opts To Build Key Gas Pipeline On Its Own

Turkmenistan now plans to build the East-West natural-gas pipeline without outside help, according to information posted on the government's website and published in state newspapers today.

The East-West pipeline should stretch some 1,000 kilometers, bringing some 30 billion cubic meters of gas from fields in the eastern part of the country to areas along Turkmenistan's Caspian Sea coast per year.

One major contributor to the pipeline is expected to be the South Yolotan-Osman field, which was assessed by the British advisory company Gaffney, Cline, and Associates, as containing reserves of some 14 trillion cubic meters, making it one of the biggest in the world.

When the idea for the pipeline first came up, it was planned to link it to the Pri-Caspian pipeline that Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia agreed to build, exporting Central Asian gas via Russia to Europe.

Russian companies were in talks with Turkmenistan about building the pipeline but relations between Turkmenistan and Russia worsened quickly after a mysterious explosion along a different gas pipeline in April 2009 cut off supplies of Turkmen gas to Russia.

The two countries were in talks about lowering the price of Turkmen gas at that time.

Turkmenistan's president put state companies in charge of completing the pipeline by 2015, which could be good news for the European Union-backed Nabucco gas pipeline that should be completed about the same time and counts on including Turkmen gas.

compiled from agency reports