In April 2010, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan made public his newly released “Economic strategy of Turkmenistan: Relying on the people, for the sake of the people.”
“…The entire country is covered by construction scaffolding and a network of utilities and gas pipelines, one of which has already reached China, becoming a modern symbol of the Great Silk Road. Moreover, it broke all records of extent and became the standard of regional infrastructure, having passed the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and initiating the whole network of super-large gas refineries, distilleries and storages.”
The basis of the industry in the real sector of our economy forms the Fuel-Energy Complex (FEC), and it is experiencing complete modernization. There is active development of the Turkmen shelf of the Caspian Sea where the biggest world companies in the sphere of extraction of energy resources operate on a basis of product-sharing contracts. In addition to a Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, a Turkmenistan-Iran gas pipeline was launched almost at the same time.
A broad spectrum of activities is currently underway in such areas as the intensification of construction, the establishment of competitive national construction industry, and the enhancement of its logistical base, in particular, by the development of local facilities producing construction materials.
Supporting the further development of international law aimed to promote organization of the normal economic relations between states, Turkmenistan, on its part, is guided by the organizational-institutional basis of foreign economic relations that help to successfully realize in practice the policy of “open doors”. This policy favorably affected direct foreign investment in the development of priority-driven sectors of the national economy.
We often use forms of attracting foreign investment such as agreements on production share that is widely used in international practice. So, every year there’s an increase in the share of oil and gas produced by joint or foreign companies such as «Petronas» (Malaysia), «Dragon Oil» (???), «Wintershall» (Germany), «Maersk Oil» (Denmark), «ONGC» (India), and «Buried Hill» (Canada).
In 2009, the unit weight of oil produced by joint or foreign companies was 41 percent, and gas, about 6 percent. Close cooperation with leading American companies like «John Deere», «Case New Holland», «Exxon/ Mobil», «Chevron», «Eurasia Group», «Boeing», and others, are taking place.
Recently cement, carbamide, kaolin and metallurgical plants have been put into operation in accordance with the principle of economy diversification and intensification of investment activity in the country. A new start was given to a totally new sector – mining. Construction of textile complexes is in full swing. In whole, the modernization of this sector made it possible to worthily compete with its output at the world market. Gas turbine power plants, food industry enterprises, and many other facilities, which have turned the country into a giant construction site, are erected all over the country.
Construction by foreign companies of various industrial and social-cultural facilities was widely spread. On January 1, 2010, 117 foreign companies from 25 countries of the world took part in the application of capital investment in the country. For the same date, the number of constructions realized by foreign companies was 530 units, with a construction budget of 11.7 billion US dollars.
The intensive and pragmatic foreign economic policy of Turkmenistan allows an increase, year by year, of the capacity of foreign trade turnover and average annual rates of growth, which for previous years are sufficiently high. For a number of years, the positive balance of trade of Turkmenistan has been high, favorably reflecting the balance of payment of the country.
The main priority in foreign economic policy of the state is the gradual transformation of Turkmenistan from the category of a country-exporter of raw materials into a country-producer and exporter of ready, high-technological goods. And also, by various means, to stimulate import of leading technologies, devices and tools. For the last few years, the share of production of industrial-technological purpose in the structure of import was 70-80 percent.
Leading trade partners of Turkmenistan are such countries like Russia, China, Turkey, USA, UAE, Italy, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, France, Iran and others. Production in Turkmenistan is properly represented in world markets, including numbers in natural gas, oil and oil products, electric energy, polypropylene, liquefied gas, cotton-fiber, cotton yarn, materials, agricultural production, products of processing, and others.
In Turkmenistan, dozens of international conferences and exhibitions are taking place annually that promote further development of foreign economic relations and creation of joint ventures. And, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, authoritative investment forums in foreign countries are held. Ashgabat is becoming a centre of attraction for scientific and cultural ideas, where representatives of the intellectual and creative elite from many countries of the world regularly gather.
For further effective integration of the economy of Turkmenistan into the world economic system, the country needs proper diversified and modernized industrial potential, developed transport and communication arteries, high quality market infrastructure, economical and legal guarantees, conditions for attracting wide-range investments, and stability of social and political systems. In all these directions, continuous work is being done and good results have already been reached. But the world does not stay in one place, and Turkmenistan needs to plan more high-speed development programs…”
President of Turkmenistan
***Given the length and breadth of the original document, this abbreviated selection provides a rare insight on the priorities set by President Berdimuhamedov with respect to energy-related activities in the country. The entire document, as well as President Berdimuhamedov’s biography can be requested with a courtesy email to MBagley@TheOSINTGroup.com