Turkmenistan to tender for new petrochemical plant
Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:57am EST
ASHGABAT, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Turkmenistan will hold a tender this year to build a petrochemical plant with a processing capacity of three million tonnes of oil a year, Turkmen Oil Minister Baimurad Khojamukhamedov said on Wednesday.
He told an annual oil and gas conference in the capital Ashgabat that both domestic and foreign companies will be welcome to take part in the tender.
"We will call an international tender to build a petrochemical complex in the east of the country with processing capacity of three million tonnes of oil and three billion cubic metres of gas," Khojamukhamedov said.
He did not say when the plant might be built and how much it would cost.
Western energy majors such as BP and Chevron flocked to the gas-rich Caspian nation this week to explore investment opportunities as they compete with Russia and other regional players for a slice of Turkmen energy reserves.
Russia's Gazprom buys most of the country's natural gas at below market prices but Turkmenistan's new leader, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is keen to cooperate closer with the West while maintaining pragmatic relations with Moscow.
Speaking at the same conference, Gazprom's deputy chairman Valery Golubev said negotiations with Turkmenistan on a new Russia-backed Caspian Gas Pipeline were going as planned.
"The Caspian Sea Pipeline is expected to be built by 2011 which will help double supplies (from Turkmenistan)," he said. "This would be the shortest way for European consumers."
Golubev added that Gazprom was looking into the possibility of building a gas plant in the Caspian Sea port of Turkmenbashi but did not elaborate.
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