Russia’s Gazprom resumes buying Turkmenistan’s natural gas

ASHGABAT (TCA) — Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom says it has resumed imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan that it stopped three years ago, RFE/RL reported.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said on April 15 that “supplies are taking place.” Turkmenistan’s state natural gas company Turkmengaz also confirmed the move.

No details were given about the amount of gas that Russia would buy or at what price.

Russia was once the leading importer of Turkmen gas until it was displaced by China in 2010.

Relatively cheap imports of gas from Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries enabled Russia to boost its exports to Europe.

In 2015, Gazprom announced its intention to cut imports of Turkmen gas to 4 billion cubic meters per year, down from the 10 billion level that it had been importing since 2010.

The move was followed by a complete halt in 2016, putting significant pressure on Turkmenistan’s economy, which is highly dependent on hydrocarbons as a source of hard currency.

Russia’s purchase halt came after the collapse of hydrocarbon prices in 2014.

The move also came as relations between Moscow and the former Soviet republic became increasingly strained by a competition to supply the large Chinese gas market.

Gazprom plans to start gas sales to China in 2019, gradually increasing flows to 38 billion cubic meters per year from east Siberia.

Gazprom’s decision to halt purchases from Turkmengaz left Ashgabat even more reliant on demand from China, which last year imported around 40 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas via the Central Asia-China pipeline.

Turkmenistan owns the world’s fourth largest known reserves of natural gas but has limited infrastructure to export its energy resources.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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