Turkmens Offer Gas Supplies to EU

BRUSSELS -- Turkmenistan has agreed to supply the European Union with 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from next year, EU officials said Monday.

The agreement will help the EU reduce its reliance on gas imported from Russia.

EU spokeswoman Christine Hohmann said Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov committed to supply the gas last week when senior European officials visited the country.

Demand for gas in the 27-nation EU is expected to reach 536 bcm by 2010 and 619 bcm by 2020.

Russia is the EU's biggest supplier, providing about 40 percent of its gas imports, followed by Norway and Algeria.

Hohmann said Berdymukhammedov had also expressed interest in developing the exploration of potential new fields in Turkmenistan, which has more than 2 trillion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves, according to the CIA.