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Monday, April 20, 2009

RWE, Turkmenistan deal blow to Gazprom

April 17, 2009 - (UPI) – ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan awarded the German partner to the Nabucco gas pipeline, RWE AG, an exploration contract in a move seen as a counter to Russian gas giant Gazprom. RWE spokesman Michael Rosen confirmed the deal to the EurasiaNet reporting agency, saying the measure secures a long-term relationship with Turkmenistan in the European energy sector. "Among other things, the parties have agreed upon investigating and discussing first direct deliveries of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Germany and Europe," RWE said in a statement. Andrei Grozin, head of Central Asian studies at the official Institute of Commonwealth of Independent States in Moscow, said Turkmenistan is moving to position itself as a diverse energy supplier as the region struggles to move away from Russian dependency. "I think (Turkmenistan) is trying to demonstrate its multi-vector politics to Russia, to Europe and to its closest neighbors, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan," he said. "It's trying to intimidate Gazprom." A pipeline from the Dovletabad field along the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan ruptured last week from technical complications resulting from a drop in gas volumes from Gazprom. Turkmenistan lashed out at the gas giant, demanding reparations for alleged contractual violations.

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