Turkmenistan could hike prices for the gas it supplies to Russia’s OAO Gazprom to US$150 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current US$100 level, Russia’s Kommersant daily reported Thursday quoting Turkmen officials, according to Thompson Financial.
‘According to Energogaz company’s owner Roman Matsuyev, who was quoting Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Oil and Gas Minister Tachberdy Tagiyev, Turkmenistan intends to raise prices on gas it supplies to Gazprom from US$100 to US$150 per 1,000 cubic meters,’ the daily wrote.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who came to power after the death of longtime Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov in December, has signalled a more open foreign policy than his predecessor, raising hopes in the West of increased access to Turkmen gas.
Berdymukhammedov actively seeks out new investors, ‘inviting British companies to develop the Caspian seabed’ and ‘openly confirmed his predecessor’s accords allowing China access to Turkmen resources,’ thus ‘seeking more and more strategic partners against Russia,’ Kommersant noted.
‘In this case, Russia will either have to put political pressure on Turkmenistan or agree to the price hike, as it has already happened in 2006, when prices rose from US$65 to US$100,’ the daily noted.
Kommersant said Russia could afford to cave in, but warned that the change would be hard on Ukraine which is heavily dependent on gas imports from both Russia and Turkmenistan.
‘If Turkmenistan raises gas prices, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will follow suit, and they also export gas to Ukraine,’ Kommersant added.
Russia imported 41 billion cubic metres of gas from Turkmenistan in 2006, according to the Kremlin.
Russia relies heavily on Central Asian gas to make up for sluggish exploration and development of its own fields.