This was stated by Gazprom Chief Executive Alexey Miller during a visit to the Turkmen capital for talks on Tuesday.
Miller also stated in an interview with Turkmenistan’s state television channel that he expected purchases dogged by price disputes to resume at the beginning of next year.
“We are talking about the resumption of purchases of Turkmen gas by Gazprom in the very near future – from January 1, 2019,” he said, stressing that details of the new deal were yet to be finalised. Russia was notably once the leading importer of Turkmen gas, until it was displaced by China around the beginning of the decade.
Russia’s exports to Europe were boosted by relatively cheap imports of gas from Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries. In 2015, Gazprom announced its intention to cut imports of Turkmen gas to 4 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year—down from 10 bcm since 2010.
In the beginning of 2016, the move was followed by a complete cessation of purchases that were announced. This compounded pressure on Turkmenistan’s economy—which was strongly dependent on hydrocarbons as a source of hard currency.
Gas deliveries to China from Turkmenistan along the Central Asia-China pipeline are currently between 30 and 40 bcm annually.
The republic that sits on the world’s fourth largest reserves exported similar volumes to Russia before they dropped dramatically following a mysterious 2009 pipeline explosion that occurred amidst a price dispute.
Nevertheless, a large part of the revenues from Turkmenistan’s sales to China are believed to be used to pay off debt on the pipeline link which also traverses neighbours Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan– and was financed by China.