Turkmenistan to Sell Electricity to Afghanistan

Turkmenistan to Sell Electricity to AfghanistanTurkmenistan to Sell Electricity to Afghanistan

Turkmenistan has inaugurated a large gas-powered electricity plant that is expected to sell about 3 billion kilowatt-hours of power a year to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to AP, the Saturday launch of the plant near Mary in the Central Asian nation's southeast was reported by state television. The $1.2 billion plant is part of Turkmenistan's efforts to diversify from the natural gas exports on which the country's economy overwhelmingly depends.

Turkmenistan's economy suffered severely when Russia stopped buying its gas. The Central Asian nation, which sits on the world’s fourth-biggest natural gas reserves, has been hit hard by the plunge in global hydrocarbon prices and is seeking to diversify exports to increase its hard currency earnings.

 Its diversification efforts include the May opening of a new port on the Caspian Sea, and it is building a pipeline to ship gas to new customers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

During the inauguration ceremony, Turkmenistan President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said, “In the future, we plan to build a gas turbine power plant on the Turkmen-Afghan border together with Japan’s Sumitomo.” In addition to its current customers—Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey—Ashgabat plans to tap into Pakistan’s market by building a power transmission line through Afghanistan, where it is already laying a gas pipeline in the same direction.

The Mary power plant upgrade is carried out by Turkey’s Calik Holding in cooperation with United States’ General Electric.

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