The European Union and Turkmenistan signed a deal on Monday to encourage increased EU investment in Turkmen oil, gas and renewable energy.
“Turkmenistan can be an attractive destination for EU investments for the development of new gas and oil fields, and at the same time the EU offers an attractive consumer market for Turkmen energy products,” EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said. The memorandum of understanding follows similar agreements with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine as the EU seeks to reduce its heavy energy dependence on Russia, which provides a quarter of its gas needs.
The EU has been particularly keen to convince Turkmenistan to join the long-stalled Nabucco gas pipeline project designed to link Caspian gas with European markets. The European Commission said last month it had secured a guarantee of 10 billion cubic meters a year of natural gas from Turkmenistan from 2009 as part of the drive to ensure sufficient supplies to make Nabucco commercially viable. The pipeline is seen as a rival to the Kremlin-backed South Stream project due eventually to take some 30 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to southern Europe. (Reuters)