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Russia delays Chinese natural gas pipeline

Sept. 5, 2013 at 7:27 AM
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YOLOTAN, Turkmenistan, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom is said to have delayed a Chinese natural gas pipeline, while Beijing tightens its ties with gas-rich Turkmenistan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Yolotan with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Both sides announced they completed the first phase of development at the South Yolotan, or Galkynysh, natural gas field, China's official Xinhua news agency reports.

Berdimuhamedov said energy cooperation between both countries was a foundation to their strategic partnership, Xinhua said Wednesday. He said Turkmenistan was willing to help China address its energy security needs.

British oil field auditing company Gaffney Cline in 2011 said South Yolotan holds more than 700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. China's natural gas demand is expanding along with its national economy.

Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti announced separately natural gas company Gazprom shelved a plan to build a natural gas pipeline to China. It cited reports Wednesday from the Russian-language business daily Vedomosti, which said pipeline construction was rescheduled from November to early 2014.

An unidentified source said Gazprom blamed contractual issues with China National Petroleum Corp. for the pipeline's delay. A March deal signed between the two countries called for natural gas supplies from Russia to China of as much as 1 trillion cubic feet per year.

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