Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Dec. 24 / Trend H. Hasanov /
Turkmenistan is Russia's old traditional partner in many areas of cooperation, especially in fuel and energy complex, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at the meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov within his working visit to Moscow, local media said on Saturday.
"Putin stressed that the volume of bilateral trade turnover increases. The growth hit 33 percent last year. This is a very good index, the newspaper "Neutral Turkmenistan" said.
The Turkmen leader visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian leadership.
The parties confirmed their mutual intention to further develop cooperation in this strategic sector. Turkmenistan and Russia are old and long-term partners.
The Turkmen President expressed confidence that this meeting will be another opportunity to discuss the issues of the Turkmen-Russian cooperation in the context of its present status and prospects for the future.
Russia gets Turkmen gas through the Middle Asia - Center gas pipeline through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This communication was commissioned in late 1960s with a capacity of up to 80 billion cubic meters per year. "Gazprom" (Russia) is a customer. It signed the agreement on gas supplies with Turkmenistan for 25 years in 2003.
At present, however, the Middle Asia - Center gas pipeline does not work at full capacity. Russia stopped importing Turkmen gas in April 2009 because of an accident. The technical issues were resolved, but under the influence of the global recession in 2010, Russia reduced the purchase up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas, or 4 times less than in 2008.
Turkmenistan and Russia with the participation of transit Kazakhstan earlier talked about a new project with a capacity up to 30 billion cubic meters a year. In this regard, the Russian, Kazakh and Turkmen Presidents signed the agreement on the gas pipeline construction in May 2007.
Senior Russian officials have previously stated that the agreement was made to freeze the project, but Turkmenistan said that these negotiations were not conducted.
Russian companies are represented in the Turkmen fuel and energy complex.
So, the production sharing agreement on block 21 in the Turkmen Caspian shelf was signed in September 2009. The Russian Itera company was initially declared as the operator. The role of the operator passed to the Russian "Zarubezhneft" company in August 2011 (51 percent stake). It signed the agreement on joint activities in the area with Itera (49 percent).
Itera and Zarubezhneft also hope to take part in the development of blocks 21 and 22 within "Zarit" joint venture.