Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud discussed prospects for expanding bilateral cooperation during the minister's recent visit to Ashgabat.
In a meeting in the Turkmen capital on December 19, the two sides noted the positive dynamics of trade and economic partnership as well as export and import potential for the "progressive expansion of mutually beneficial business contacts", according to the state-owned Turkmenistan Today.
"The fuel and energy complex, trade, investments, transport and communications, chemical and textile industries, and agriculture were named among the promising areas of cooperation," the report added.
Berdimuhamedow expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for supporting Turkmenistan's "international initiatives", and said that the visit would become yet another step towards the further development of Turkmen-Saudi relations.
The Turkmen president said that “our country attached great importance to the development of long-term, forward-looking bilateral fraternal ties”, and confirmed the interest in bringing these relations to an even higher level, filling them with new content.
For his part, the Saudi foreign minister stressed Riyadh's intention of expanding its long-term fruitful cooperation with Turkmenistan, and said that the visit came in the context of strengthening close ties and expanding new opportunities in all areas.
Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashit Meredow and his visiting Saudi counterpart had also discussed topical issues of bilateral relations, regional and international politics, including the implementation of previously reached agreements.
"The high level of relations between the two states and the effective course of cooperation in the international arena were emphasised," the Turkmen Foreign Ministry reported on the same day.
Speaking about trade and economic partnership, both sides expressed interest in improving the investment climate and expanding the range of cooperation between public and private structures.
They also noted the importance of establishing a Turkmen-Saudi business council in order to increase collaboration between the business circles of the two countries.
They also discussed cooperation in the oil and gas sector, the chemical industry, textiles and carpet production, civil aviation and paid attention to the issues of rational use of water resources and combating desertification.
During the talks, the top diplomats also exchanged views on the implementation of the road map to intensify political dialogue, inter-parliamentary, trade and economic cooperation, as well as cultural and humanitarian exchange, and the implementation of investment projects between the two countries.
In terms of natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan is among the top four countries in the world along with Russia, Iran and Qatar. China is the largest buyer of Turkmen gas.
Turkmenistan has 13.6 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of proven gas reserves, while Saudi Arabia has 6.8 tcm of gas, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy for 2021.
Turkmenistan has enough gas to somewhat offset the loss of Russian gas to the European Union, but Turkmen gas needs to reach the west side of the Caspian Sea first — and this has been the major problem.
Saudi Arabia is considered to be the eighth-largest producer of natural gas and has the eighth-largest proven gas reserves in the world. The country’s economy is mainly oil-based, where oil has been considered the primary source of government revenues.
The country possesses more than 267.02 billion barrels of crude oil reserves representing approximately 18 percent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves.