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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 6,010 7,672 4,000 110
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,120 1,200 950 131
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Turkmenistan


Update No: 348 - (16/12/09)

In from the cold
There is no doubt that geopolitically and economically Turkmenistan is losing its pariah status. It is being courted by the US for its cooperation in containing Iran and by China for its oil and gas.

It is no longer locked into dependence on Russia, as under its lunatic dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, who expired three years ago in December 2007. His successor and son is a shrewder fellow.

Iran objects to 'espionage treaty'
An Iranian official has criticized the building of a seismic monitoring station in neighbouring Turkmenistan, saying the facility is designed to spy on Iran's nuclear programme. Probably true. Senior diplomat Abolfazl Zohrehvand said on December 9 that the international treaty that permits construction of seismic observatories is, in his words, an "espionage" treaty.

The monitoring station in Turkmenistan was built by the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which announced the facility's completion in early December.

Zohrehvand accused the independent world body of planning to set up other stations in the region to monitor Iran.

Iran is a member of that organization and agreed in the past to allow seismic monitoring stations to be built on its territory.

An organization spokeswoman (Annika Thunborg) said its global network of sensors is designed to monitor nuclear explosions worldwide, not in particular countries.

She said the decision to build the Turkmenistan monitoring station was made in the mid-1990s with Iranian involvement. Western nations have accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy programme -- a charge Iran denies.

Chinese leader comes to town to launch gas pipeline
It shows the great importance that Beijing places on Turkmen gas that Chinese leader, President Hu Jintao himself, visited Central Asia on December 12-14 to launch a new gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, a new milestone in China's quest for control over the region's abundant energy resources.

Turkmen gas is abundant. It is cleaner than oil, a very important point in this ecological age. The landmark central Asia-to-China gas pipeline, China's first cross-border gas pipeline, has to wind 2,000km via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and then across 9 ,000km of Chinese territories to reach factories in the south of China, a massive engineering feat.

Chinese loans
Beijing has stepped up its presence in ex-Soviet Central Asia within the last few years by handing out billions of dollars in loans, snapping up energy assets and building an oil pipeline from Kazakhstan and now a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan.

China has agreed to issue a $3 billion loan to Turkmenistan to develop the Central Asian state's largest gas field, South Iolotan.

South Iolotan contains between 4 trillion and 14 trillion cubic metres of gas, Britain's Gaffney, Cline and Associates said in 2008, making it one of the world's five largest deposits.

CNPC in new agreement
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will sell imported natural gas from Central Asia at up to 3,750 yuan a tonne, or about 3 yuan a cubic metre, to a city gas distributor in southern China in 2011, a rate far above existing domestic prices.

Under an agreement reached on November 12, 2007, CNPC will supply Shenzhen Gas Corp Ltd with 3.2 million tonnes of gas per year for a period of 25 years, Shenzhen Gas said in a prospectus posted on its website dated Dec 8 (

Shenzhen Gas, the leading gas distributor in Shenzhen city which borders Hongkong, currently get most of its gas from Guangdong Dapeng LNG, China's first liquefied natural gas terminal operator, at a price of 1.7 yuan per cubic metre.

Shenzhen Gas did not disclose the price of gas to be supplied by CNPC after 2011, but analysts have suggested prices could be even higher given the unprecedented long-haul shipping distance from central Asia.

In July, China's National Development and Reform Commission set the city-gate gas price in Shanghai at about 2 yuan a cubic metre for gas to be pumped, via a nearly 1,700 kilometre pipeline, from western Sichuan's Puguang field, which is operated by Sinopec (0386.HK)(600028.SS).

China's President Hu Jintao’s historic visit to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan from Dec. 12 to 14 marked the start-up of operations of the gas pipeline that has designed transport capacity of 30 billion cubic metres per year when all construction is completed.

China aims to deepen energy ties with Central Asian states seeking new markets for their oil, gas and uranium, a Chinese official said on December 9. At home CNPC's first west-to-east gas pipeline, with capacity of 17 billion cubic metres per year, winds over 4,000 kilometres from Xinjiang in the northwest to Shanghai in the east. The gas arrives at Shanghai at 1.4 yuan a cubic metre.


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