Turkmenistan tilts to Russia, China

Jane’s Country Risk News reports Feb. 1 that renewed US attempts to woo Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to open his country’s vast natural gas reserves may be “too little, too late.” Russia already accounts for 97% of Turkmenistan’s gas exports. Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan signed an agreement in December to build a gas pipeline along the edge of the Caspian Sea, through the Russian network. The plan could undermine US plans for a trans-Caspian pipeline to the Caucasus. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited Turkmenistan in November, and Berdymukhammedov reiterated plans to export gas to China through a pipeline due to come online in 2009. Berdymukhammedov has also refused to rule out the possibility of a trans-Caspian pipeline, however.

See our last posts on Turkmenistan, Central Asia, and the regional pipeline wars.