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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Turkmenistan Turns Tables on Russia, Threatens to Cut Gas Supplies

Turkmenistan22.06.2006 11:27 [] - Turkmenistan has raised the stakes in its gas pricing dispute with Russia. On Wednesday, June 21, the Central Asian state threatened to cut gas supplies altogether if Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom did not raise the purchase price by more than a half. Meanwhile the price Turkmenistan charges Gazprom is of vital importance to Ukraine, because the majority of natural gas it buys from Russian monopoly actually comes from Central Asia. MosNews has already reported on Tuesday that Gazprom currently buys Turkmen gas for $65 per 1,000 cubic meters and charges Ukraine $95 for this gas. Yesterday Turkmenistan said that it wants to raise the price of its blue fuel to at least $100 beginning in the second half of 2006. With transportation costs factored into the new price that would make the price of gas that Gazprom sells to Ukraine equal at least $130. Reuters agency quoted the Turkmen Foreign Ministry, which said in statement that “if such a contract [to raise the price of gas from $65 to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters] is not signed with Gazprom over the next month and a half… then Turkmenistan would stop gas supplies”. The Russian gas monopoly was not available for comment. A source close to negotiations between Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller and Turkmen President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov told the agency that Milled had asked for a break in negotiations for consultations with top Russian officials. It was unclear when the talks with Niyazov would resume.

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