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China lends Turkmenistan 4 billion dollars for gas field

by Staff Writers
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AFP) April 26, 2011
Energy hungry China has given Turkmenistan a loan of $4.1 billion (three billion euros) to develop a gas field and boost exports, the state gas company Turkmengaz said Tuesday.

"The China Development Bank has given Turkmenistan a credit of 4.1 billion dollars," Turkmengaz chief executive officer Amanaly Khanalyev said at a ceremony to sign the loan agreement.

The money would be used "to develop the country's biggest gas field, Ioujno-Elotenshoie, and to increase the export potential of Turkmengaz," added a company official, Achir Aliev.

The gas field, located in the east of the former Soviet republic believed to hold the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, contains some 21,000 billion cubic metres of the commodity.

Turkmengaz, the China Development Bank and PetroChina have also signed a deal to "guarantee deliveries of Turkmen gas to China", Aliev said.

Turkmenistan, an isolated but resource-rich Central Asian state on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, is trying to move away from its reliance on Soviet-era pipelines through Russia since its own exports ground to a halt and soured ties with the Kremlin after a pipeline explosion in 2009.

In September last year, Turkmen fields were estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic metres of gas.

China, a major energy consumer, is looking for new sources and in 2009 also gave Turkmengaz a credit of four billion dollars.

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