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Ahmadinejad to Visit Turkmenistan

The recently reelected president of neighbouring Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to visit Turkmenistan in December.

In a phone conversation with Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov on August 12, Ahmadinejad agreed to come for the official opening of a pipeline running from the gas fields of Dovletabad to the Iranian town of Khangiran.

Iran currently buys eight billion cubic metres of gas a year from the Korpeje gas field in western Turkmenistan. The new pipeline will run from gas fields in southeastern Turkmenistan, increasing expert volumes by six billion cu m.

Iran and Turkmenistan agreed to increase gas purchases in mid-July, and there are plans to increase the volume to 20 billion cu m a year in future.

NBCentralAsia experts note that the new pipeline comes at a time when Turkmenistan is looking for alternatives to Russia, which currently buys the bulk of its gas. In recent months Ashgabat has been at odds with the Russian firm Gazprom, which wants to pay less given the fall in world energy prices.

Turkmenistan produces about 80 billion cu m of gas annually, of which 20 billion cu m is consumed domestically and the rest is exported.