Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turkmenistan Energy Industry Moves Away from Russia

In several recent oil and gas deals, Turkmenistan has exhibited a reorientation away from working with major Russian companies like Gazprom and Lukoil and toward a preference for partners from the United States, Europe, Asia, and the United Arab Emirates. In early August, the Turkmen government announced that it would accept bids for oil field development projects from several major Western companies and a UAE company, but Russian companies are not in the list of invited bidders. Also, Turkmen oil is being piped to China and through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and a possible pipeline through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India is under discussion. Explanations offered for the shift away from Russia include a Western advantage in offshore drilling technology for deposits in the Caspian Sea, a 2009 pipeline explosion for which the Turkmen leadership blamed Gazprom, and disagreements over prices for Turkmen oil and gas and over whether Gazprom should have a right to re-export Turkmen gas.

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