In Turkmenistan, a new promising natural gas field was opened the vicinity of the super-giant field Galkinish. The press service of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of the republic reported this news on May 6, adding that the flow of gas of an industrial scale has been received from the first exploration well drilled within the new Giurgiu gas-bearing area. As a result, gas reserves were discovered at a depth of approximately 4,600 meters. According to the preliminary estimates, the production level in the new field may be more than 600,000 cubic meters per day.
On May 1-3, 2016, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia, which included negotiations with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh. It resulted in the ceremony of signing of bilateral documents, agreed and approved by the leaderships of the two countries. According to the press service of the Turkmen President, Berdymukhamedov invited the companies of Saudi Arabia to participate in investment projects, such as development the major gas field “Galkynysh” and construction of the TAPI gas pipeline.
Foreign diplomats and heads of major foreign companies are now allowed to rent dwelling in the capital of Turkmenistan. Worth recalling, the ban was introduced on February 5, 2016, when during a government meeting President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov announced a requirement to streamline the current system of registration of renting apartments, and to secure its legal aspect. “Persons who rent apartments must comply with all provisions of the current legislation, and they should interact with the State Tax Service in accordance with the law,” the head of state said.
The second phase of construction of the Lake “Altyn Asyr” is underway in Turkmenistan's Central Karakum Desert. The project provides for creating a unique hydro-technical complex, a complicated system of various drainage structures designed for collection of mineralized drainage water from the agricultural lands in the territory of all regions of the country. According to local media, this project is unprecedented and of great importance for both Turkmenistan and the entire region of Central Asia.
On April 25, the Kempinski Hotel in China's capital Beijing hosted a presentation of the railway route linking China with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran. According to Ambassador of Turkmenistan in China Chinar Rustamova, organization of the railway route “China – Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran” will allow to shorten the distance of transportation between Iran and China more than twofold as compared to the sea route. She also added that the rail corridor to Europe via Kazakhstan has proved its high efficiency.
On April 24, Turkmenistan celebrated the traditional national Holiday of Akhal-Teke Horses. It is dedicated to a breed of riding horses that was created in the country. Nowadays it is considered one of the most beautiful and oldest in the world, as its emergence dates back to about 5,000 years ago. The Horse Festival is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of April. It includes many different activities, their scale comparable with the main national holiday of Turkmenistan – the Independence Day.
Ashgabat hosted the Turkmen-Korean bilateral seminar on the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in areas such as transport, logistics and infrastructure. According to the government statement published on April 20, the event was organized with participation of the Ministry of Road Transport. The seminar was also attended by representatives of the ministries of energy, economy and development, construction and architecture, rail and road transport, public service, river and sea transport, and by representatives of the National Service “Turkmenistan Airlines.”
Plans are afoot in Turkmenistan to reduce state involvement in a number of large enterprises in the framework of the 2013-2016 State Program for privatization of state-owned enterprises and facilities. This is stated in the government announcement published on April 18. The privatized enterprises relate to various sectors of the national economy, such as industrial, construction, transport and communications, and a number of others. The first and second phases of the program have been completed, with 39 enterprises privatized.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Turkmen State Concern “Turkmenneftegazstroy” has been equipping the “Zeakli-Derveze” group of gas condensate fields, which are situated in the Central Karakum. The Ministry of Gas and Oil of the country published such an announcement on April 15. As of today, there have been drilled 13 wells, two of which are ready for immediate use. Currently, pumps and a transformer substation are being assembled and installed.
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The death of President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov literally caused a flurry of comments of experts of different caliber, who were almost unanimously expressing concerns about the future of both the country and the entire Central Asian region. There were expressed opinions that contained varying degrees of concern regarding the possible exacerbation of the struggle between clans for power in Tashkent. That would threaten regional security, considering the information available about the penetration of radical Islam in Central Asia.
In the middle of 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Ashgabat on a two-day visit. The voyage was scheduled for mid-October, but it was postponed due to the terrorist attacks in Ankara. Much changed during those two months. There were held parliamentary elections in Ankara, where Erdogan's party won a landslide victory; after the incident with the downed aircraft, the relations between Turkey and Russia were severely strained. Turkey started to look for new gas suppliers.
Quite recently, the Turkmen-Turkish cooperation in the field of cultural exchanges was viewed by the two countries as a progressive and useful one. There were opened several dozens of Turkmen-Turkish schools, a Turkish primary school, the educational center “Bashkent,” and the International Turkmen-Turkish University. In addition, thousands of Turkmen students are studying in Turkish universities. More than 10,000 Turkish citizens are currently living in Turkmenistan. About 500,000 of our compatriots are residing in Turkey.