May 29, 2009

Blast closes 195 oil wells in Turkmenistan

A blast along an oil pipeline to Russia has forced Turkmenistan to halt gas production at 195 wells, an expert said Friday.

RIA Novosti reported that problems with Turkmen gas deliveries began in April, after the accidental blast caused Turkmengaz, the country's state-run gas company, to suspend supplies to Russia.

Odek Odekov, director of the geological institute at the state oil and gas exploration corporation Turkmengeologiya, said that repairs had already been carried made to the pipeline. He said the resumption in supplies was subject to commercial negotiations.

If the parties come to terms, we won't file a suit with an international arbitration tribunal. The parties are currently unable to agree who is at fault, he said.

Dovlet Atabayev, head of the European office of the state agency for hydrocarbon resources management and use, said that a working group had been established to investigate the accident.

This is a purely commercial issue between the parties and there is no political context to it. The experts have to find the cause, he said.