Analysis: China awarded massive Turkmen gas contract
WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- Since the unexpected death on Dec. 21, 2006, of Turkmenistan’s “President for life,” “Turkmenbashi (“father of the Turkmen”) Saparmurat Niyazov, Russia, the U.S. and China have been engaged in a fierce covert struggle to win dominance over Turkmenistan’s vast but largely untapped gas deposits. Two and a half years later, after offers and counter-offers, Beijing appears to have the inside track, a decision by Niyazov’s successor, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, that will cause much hand-wringing in both Moscow and Washington, which awarded China a $3 billion contract for its massive South Iolatan gas field.
JOHN C.K. DALY, UPI International Correspondent