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Turkmen Leader, Russian Deputy PM Discuss Energy, Trade Ties

By Aygerim Sarymbetova February 20, 2023

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Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk discussed key areas of cooperation between their countries on February 17, 2023. / Orient.tm

Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk have recently held talks to discuss key areas of cooperation between their countries.

“The sides had expressed interest in exchanging views on priority issues of cooperation, which is based on the principles of close strategic partnership and is successfully developing across the entire spectrum during a meeting,” the Turkmen news website Orient.tm reported on February 17.

The leaders also placed particular emphasis on the implementation of previously established agreements that aim to stimulate and enhance productive cooperation across a range of sectors. After the meeting, the Turkmen president and the visiting Russian deputy prime minister expressed confidence in the successful development of mutually beneficial cooperation that meets common interests and is being developed taking into account a long-term perspective.

On the same day, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the former president who is now Turkmenistan’s National Leader and Chairman of the Halk Maslakhaty, the country’s highest representative body, also received Overchuk to discuss “promising areas of developing bilateral cooperation.” While addressing the meeting, Overchuk said Russia was “interested in developing cooperation in various areas, including in economy, trade, energy and transport.”

Earlier, the Turkmen president received Alexei Miller, CEO of Russian energy giant Gazprom. The two sides discussed energy cooperation, including the modernization of oil and gas enterprises, increasing the efficiency of the extraction sector, and “the diversification of the export of energy carriers.” According to Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Miller’s visit to Turkmenistan “will help strengthen productive cooperation in the fuel and energy sector.” 

“Developing strategic partnership with Russia is one of the priority vectors of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy,” the president added.

Miller also had a meeting with Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedow on that day, during which they conversed about the present condition and potential opportunities for collaboration within the gas industry.

Meanwhile, some experts claim that the topic of the talks was “Turkmenistan’s possible participation in the international gas hub in Türkiye,” as Russia has so far objected to the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to Türkiye, referring to the “poor ecology” of the Caspian Sea.  

On January 24, the head of the Russian state geological exploration company Rosgeologiya, Sergei Gorkov, announced that the company was ready to take part in geological projects in Turkmenistan to explore oil and gas.

“As for underground gas storage, Rosgeologiya is able to do both the technical and analytical parts. I hope there will be an update on this topic in February. They need it more than we do. We are ready to help them,” Gorkov said.

Turkmenistan’s oil industry has been presented with innovative advancements by Rosgeologiya, which includes the GeoAudit technology, used to identify deposits that may have been overlooked in currently active oil and gas fields, and the M3 vibroseis sources, produced in-house by the company.

Russia and Turkmenistan have stepped up economic cooperation in the last few months. 

On January 20, Turkmen and Russian companies signed over 50 deals worth nearly $2.2 billion following a business forum held in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat. Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow said at the forum that his country was planning to develop energy cooperation with Russia.

The business forum brought together representatives from 220 Russian companies and 110 Turkmen companies spanning a range of industries, including agribusiness, education, industry, IT, logistics, and transport. The forum was also attended by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his Deputy Alexander Novak. The Russian delegation extended proposals for cooperation in the areas of oil and gas supply, the creation of gas infrastructure, and the preservation of environmental security in the Caspian Sea. Furthermore, they expressed interest in collaborating on joint field development projects in Turkmenistan.