Agreement on long-term Turkmen gas deliveries to Russia may be signed in February

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Gennady Ustyuzhanin hopes that the inter-governmental agreement and the contract between Gasprom and Turkmengas on long-term gas deliveries from Turkmenistan to Russia will be signed in February, he told Russian news agencies on Saturday while commenting on the results of his visit to Turkmenistan on January 2-3 as a member of the Russian Security Council delegation.

The draft documents submitted to Turkmenistan for consideration at the Ashkhabad meetings envisage deliveries of up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas by 2005 and up to 20 billion cubic meters by 2008 in addition to the amount that is piped from Russia to Ukraine. The price Russia offers to Turkmenistan is somewhat lower than Ukraine's, yet it is ready to pay for it in money, while Ukraine's payments up to 50 per cent consist of barter, the deputy minister said. At present Turkmenistan is considering the Russian proposals.

During the talks the parties discussed a draft inter-governmental agreement on Turkmen oil transit via the Makhachkala-Novorossiysk pipeline for supplies to Europe, Ustyuzhanin said.

The participants also discussed the possibility of using the pipeline that goes from Omsk to Turkmenistan via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to deliver Russsian oil to the Seidinsky oil processing plant which will allow selling oil products to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. They agreed to conduct a marketing research for the project and to check the technical conditions of the oil pipeline. Russian oil supplies from Siberia to the Seidinsky plant via the pipeline may be more profitable that crude oil supplies from Caspian oil fields by other transport means, the deputy minister explained. For the same reason Iran, whose oil fields are mainly situated near the Persian Gulf, may be interested in oil products from Turkmenistan.

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