The European Union and Turkmenistan will create a contractual and legal framework for the supplies of Turkmen natural gas to Europe, Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said on Thursday.
"Today we are starting creation of a contractual and legal framework for the supplies of Turkmen energy resources to Europe," Berdymukhamedov said after talks with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer. "A special working group comprising heads and experts of energy structures and interested parties has been established for this purpose."
Fischer said he had discussed the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project during Thursday's visit to Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Nabucco, which remains a paper project, will bring gas from the Caspian region to an Austrian hub via Turkey and the Balkans, bypassing Russia.
Nabucco, which is intended to pump 31 bcm of natural gas, is part of the EU's effort to diversify its natural gas supplies and reduce the region's dependence on Russian gas. The South Stream pipeline project, designed to deliver up to 63 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Europe, is generally regarded as a rival to the Nabucco pipeline.
"Of course, there are obstacles on our way but we will overcome them by definite efforts," the Austrian president said.
Berdymukhamedov also said that his country was ready to supply natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline at a fair price.
Analysts say the move is part of a long-term effort to diversify energy sources.
"This is an issue of quite long-term perspective. It is not a proven fact that Europe needs Turkmen gas so much that it would do its utmost to get it. It's possible for Europe to diversify its energy sources in the long term to cut gas prices," Troika Dialog analyst Valery Nesterov said.