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Turkmenistan to increase production of oil, gas in 2009

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ASHGABAT, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - Oil production in Turkmenistan will increase to 10.9 million tons in 2009, regional media said on Wednesday, citing an announcement at a Turkmen-British Energy Business Forum.

The forum was held in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat and involved the Central Asian state's Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry and Foreign Ministry, as well as the British Embassy in Turkmenistan.

It was also announced during the forum that Turkmenistan would produce up to 75 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year, the majority of it for export.

In 2008, Turkmenistan produced 70.5 billion cubic meters of gas, of which 47 billion was exported. The main consumer of Turkmen natural gas is the Russian gas giant Gazprom, which on average purchases some 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the former Soviet republic.

The forum's participants also noted that during 2009 the construction of gas pipelines in Turkmenistan would continue to see rapid development. However, there was no information on which pipelines were discussed at the forum.

A pipeline between Turkmenistan and China is making good progress. However, it has not yet been revealed when the project will be commissioned. Work on another pipeline, to be laid jointly by Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan, is due to start this year in the Caspian Sea area.

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