Turkmenistan eyes record nat gas production
Ashgabat , July 7, 2012
Turkmenistan, holder of the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, plans to produce a total of 448.7 billion cubic metres (bcm) of the fuel in 2012-16, state media reported on Saturday, in a rare disclosure of such data in the reclusive nation.
The central Asian nation of 5.5 million, where President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wields sweeping powers and is titled Arkadag (The Patron) amid a rising personality cult, has not published data for the actual volume of its vital natural gas output and exports in recent years.
But lifting the veil of secrecy, state television said Berdymukhamedov had late on Friday presided over a government meeting to personally approve the guidelines of the development of Turkmenistan's oil and gas sector through 2016.
'According to the programme ... a total of 448.7 bcm of gas will be produced during this period,' the TV report said, adding that Berdymukhamedov stressed a need to boost foreign investment in the promising sector.
Berdymukhamedov, who remains the main source of macroeconomic statistics in the ex-Soviet desert nation, also said the country's energy-fuelled gross domestic product (GDP) had risen by 11.1 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2011.
This compares to a 14.4 per cent rise in the same period of last year and a 9.2 per cent increase in the first half of 2010.
Average annual output of around 90 bcm of natural gas targeted by the state programme is significantly higher than official and independent data for Turkmen production last year.
Estimates by energy major BP put Turkmenistan's 2011 natural gas output at 59.5 bcm, or 40.6 percent higher than in the previous year.-Reuters