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China’s Xi Proposes Enhanced ‘Natural Gas’ Cooperation With Turkmenistan

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China's Xi Proposes Enhanced 'Natural Gas' Cooperation With Turkmenistan

(CTN NEWS) – BEIJING – Chinese state television stated that President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for more energy cooperation with Turkmenistan on Friday (Jan. 6).

China’s top source of piped natural gas is the six million-person republic of Turkmenistan in Central Asia.

Turkmenistan’s president Serdar Berdymukhamedov, who is in Beijing for a two-day visit, was informed by Xi that “natural gas collaboration is the foundation of the China-Turkmenistan relationship.”

The conversations were covered in Chinese media, but there were no specifics about how the two nations might cooperate in the energy sector.

When the two leaders met in Uzbekistan in September of last year, they did so as a prelude to a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

China has purchased more Turkmen gas. Chinese customs figures show that for the first eleven months of 2022, China‘s imports of Turkmen gas were valued at US$9.3 billion, up from US$6.79 billion for the entire year of 2021.

Turkmen gas is transported by three trunklines that extend 1,833 kilometers and traverse through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to as far as China’s eastern coast.

According to Chinese state media, both nations are constructing a fourth pipeline, the 1,000-km D line, which also connects Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Serdar Berdymukhamedov is seen at a ceremony in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on Aug 21, 2021. (File photo: AFP/Igor Sasin)

This pipeline is intended to increase the annual supply capacity from Central Asia to 85 billion cubic meters (bcm) from the current 55 bcm.

After the D line starts operating, Rystad’s Xiong predicted that Turkmenistan’s gas supplies to China will increase to about 70 bcm by 2030 from more than 30 bcm in 2021.

Both leaders Xi and Serdar Berdymukhamedov,decided to upgrade their bilateral relations to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” at their meeting on Friday.

In terms of diplomatic standing, this would put Turkmenistan on par with around 30 other nations, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Venezuela.

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