Turkmenistan to Pump More Gas to China

Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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China's energy hungry economy is about to get a big boost from a growing Central Asian republic.

Chinese officials confirmed Wednesday Turkmenistan has agreed to boost its natural gas shipments to China by more than 60 percent a year.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is in Beijing for a series of meetings with top Chinese officials, including President Hu Jintao.

Turkmenistan currently sends about 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China per year and workers recently completed construction of a new natural gas pipeline to southern China.

The deal would increase Turkmenistan's total yearly natural gas shipments to China to 65 billion cubic meters.

China has been courting Central Asian former Soviet bloc members, like Turkmenistan, as part of it efforts to diversify and expand its access to the energy resources needed to power its fast-growing economy and reduce its reliance on heavily polluting coal.

Turkmenistan has also won strong support from the European Union and the United States for plans to supply gas to a trans-Caspian pipeline that will run through Azerbaijan to Europe.

Russia has been critical of the deal, and is developing its own South Stream pipeline in the same region.