WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov wrapped up his visit to Washington, meeting with energy officials and raising hopes for the Nabucco pipeline.
Meredov had met with Richard Morningstar, the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, who lauded Turkmenistan as a major potential energy partner, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.
"Turkmenistan is an interesting country and raises some interesting opportunities," said Morningstar.
Morningstar praised the flexibility of the government in Turkmenistan to offer opportunities to Western governments to advance onshore production in a mutually beneficial way.
The move is part of growing acrimony between Moscow and Ashgabat in the wake of an April pipeline explosion linking the two countries.
Meanwhile, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has expressed a desire to diversify the national energy portfolio, moving on Chinese deals sure to undermine Russia.
Washington and its European allies have looked to Turkmenistan as a major supplier to its heralded Nabucco gas pipeline. Morningstar, an outspoken advocate of the $10.7 billion project, put Ashgabat at the center of the project.
"Once that is established and Nabucco is sanctioned, it is going to make more likely westward gas coming from Turkmenistan," Morningstar said.