ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The government in Turkmenistan has set as a priority expanding its regional infrastructure to solidify its position as a major energy hub, officials said.
"Turkmenistan's policy is to acquire more and more international recognition (in the energy sector)," said Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Top government officials discussed in January the means to bring lucrative Turkmen energy resources to world markets, obligations with its customers and the exploration of new fields, the Trend Capital news agency reported Monday.
Specifically, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Tachberdy Tagiyev addressed developments of a gas pipeline to China and progress at the Gurrubil-Garabil gas field.
Turkmenistan holds some of the richest gas fields in the world. Development of a gas pipeline to China may dash hopes that Turkmenistan could commit supplies to the Western-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, a rival to a project from the Iranian South Pars gas field.
Russian energy monopoly Gazprom is the primary importer of Turkmen gas. The news report said Turkmenistan expects to boost gas production in 2009 by about 2.7 trillion cubic feet.