The eagerly awaited sale-and-purchase agreement on Turkmen gas deliveries to Turkey was signed on May 21 in Ashgabat. The agreement covers a 30-year span, to begin when the planned trans-Caspian pipeline becomes operational. The document envisions deliveries of 30 billion cubic meters annually, of which Turkey guarantees to purchase 16 billion for its own use and to transit 14 billion to European countries. Turkey’s state pipeline company Botas will complete the pipeline stretch on Turkish territory from the Georgian border to Ankara by the end of 2001.
The signing of the commercial agreement is a key step toward securing the finances and expediting the start of construction work on the planned export pipeline from Turkmenistan via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey. The Power Service Group (PSG) consortium, composed of the American companies Bechtel and General Electric, has been designated to build the pipeline from eastern Turkmenistan to the Turkish border and has the support of the United States government. Success of the project should enable Turkmenistan not only to overcome the Russian blockade on Turkmen gas exports, but also to compete with Russia’s Gazprom on Balkan markets (Anatolia, Reuters, May 21; see the Monitor, February 23, and The Fortnight in Review, February 26).
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