On the day of celebration of the 13th anniversary of the republic's independence Saparmurat Niyazov received leaders of a
number of Russian companies participating in implementation of projects of the oil and gas sector of Turkmenistan, the State
news service (TDH) reported. Deputy board chairman of Gasprom Alexander Ryazanov, CEO of Zarubezhneft Nikolai Tokarev and
head of ITERA international group of companies Igor Makarov warmly congratulated the head of state on the 13th anniversary
of Turkmenistan's independence. The guests expressed gratitude for an opportunity to meet with the President on such a great
day for the country and wished Saparmurat Niyazov health and further successes in realization of vast plans of the social
economic development of the state and spiritual revival of the Turkmen nation.
The sides had a detailed discussion on the most important aspects of implementation of joint projects and progress in
working out plans of advantageous partnership. In fact, during the Turkmen President's conversation with the head of Gasprom
the sides discussed issues related to the implementation of the Turkmen-Russian agreement of cooperation in the gas field.
As is known, this 25-year agreement took effect early in 2004. As Alexander Ryazanov said at the meeting, the Russian company
will purchase 4,5 bcm of natural gas this year and will ensure its transit to Ukraine. Gas purchases and transit volumes will
considerably increase next year, Alexander Ryazanov noted. In view of this, the sides looked at issues related to modernization
of the interstate pipeline system through which Turkmen gas is exported northwards.
Gasprom will become the largest purchaser of Turkmen gas in the near future, Saparmurat Niyazov said in the course of
the conversation, hailing Russian partners' great interest in expanding this cooperation to oil and gas extraction in the
Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea.
The topic of cooperation in the field of the Caspian hydrocarbon reserves exploration was also raised during the President's
meeting with CEO of Zarubezhneft and Itera companies. As is known, these companies together with Rosneft company, which is
being merged with Gasprom, are the founders of Zarit consortium that was set up in 2002 to implement a project on the development
of three promising offshore fields in the Caspian Sea. Nikolai Tokarev and Igor Makarov briefed Saparmurat Niyazov on the
consortium's activity in this regard and stated their readiness to speed up implementation of the contract.
As the meeting noted, a joint Turkmen-Russian conference with participation of Gasprom and many other big companies will
give a further powerful boost to the development of the Turkmen-Russian cooperation in the oil and gas field. A business forum,
which was approved by President Saparmurat Niyazov, will be held in Ashgabat this November.
The meeting also emphasized the importance of strengthening humanitarian ties between Turkmenistan and Russia. Russian
businessmen thanked very much the head of state for providing the Russian Drama Theater after A.S.Pushkin in Ashgabat with
a new beautiful building. On their part, the largest Russian company, Gasprom, suggested a number of specific steps to further
enhance partnership in cultural and educational fields.
The Turkmen President has supported all these suggestions, the TDH notes.
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