Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have signed a deal to build a pipeline that will allow Moscow to keep Central Asian gas flowing to the West under its control for years to come.
The trilateral agreement was signed in Moscow in the presence of Russia’s President Putin and the Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. Putin said this “will ensure major long-term and stable gas supplies” and he called it “another serious contribution to the strengthening of Europe’s energy security.”
Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have large gas reserves, but do not have access to world markets except via pipelines controlled by Russia’s export monopoly Gazprom.
However this project – which skirts the Caspian Sea – will not please the EU and the US which wanted alternative routes bypassing Russia and passing under the Caspian Sea to join a main link into Europe.
The Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan pipeline
is due to be built by the end of 2010. It would export 20 billion cubic metres of gas a year. That is enough to cover the demand of a country like France for almost six months.