Pipeline explosion reveals Turkmenistan-Gazprom rift
WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) -- In the intense international competition for Caspian hydrocarbons that developed after the 1991 collapse of communism, Western interest focused initially on Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan was regarded largely as a closed market because of the mercurial policies of its president for life, "Turkmenbashi" or "father of the Turkmen," Saparmurat Niyazov. Then as now, Gazprom took the lion's share of Turkmen gas, but a recent mysterious explosion has revealed significant rifts between Turkmenistan and its largest foreign customer.
JOHN C.K. DALY, UPI International Correspondent