Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, March 15 / Trend H.Hasanov /
Turkmen President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov approved the local staff of a Turkmen-French intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation.
The president's order states that the structure will serve to "further develop Turkmenistan-France bilateral relations."
The agreement to establish the commission was reached during Berdimuhamedov's recent visit to Paris where he held talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and participated in a joint business forum.
At a meeting with the Turkmen leader, GDF Suez announced its readiness to work on delivering Turkmen gas to Europe - a consumer market that will grow in the next decade.
GDF Suez CEO Jean-Francois Cirelli said at this stage France covers half its needs in fossil fuels with imports.
In terms of the growth trend, he said "75 percent will be imported in the future." However, he stressed that Turkmenistan could become a key gas supplier for European markets.
Cirelli also said that his company is the largest gas buyer in Europe. The company buys over 100 billion cubic meters of gas per year and owns the largest gas transport lines in the region.
Referring to past experience, he said he is ready to work with Turkmenistan in the development and exploration of gas fields and the provision of raw materials transport.
"The gas market in Europe will grow in the next decade," he said. "In this regard, Turkmenistan and France have every reason to keep working on strengthening cooperation. "
Berdimuhammedov and Sarkozy both stress the role of Turkmenistan in Europe's energy security during the visit.
EU countries hope to receive fuel supplies from the Caspian region through the Nabucco gas pipeline project.
The Nabucco gas pipeline project is worth 7.9 billion euro. Project participants are Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE companies. Each of participants has equal share to the amount of 16.67 percent. Construction of gas pipeline is planned to be launched in 2011, the first supplies - in 2014. Maximal capacity of the pipeline will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year. Nabucco Gas Pipeline International shareholders will invest 30 percent of total cost of the project, the rest 70 percent will be paid owing to loans.