Turkmenistan, Iran set to open new gas pipeline

Turkmenistan, Iran set t

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in energy-rich Turkmenistan to attend the opening of a new pipeline that will ensure a sharp boost in natural gas deliveries from the Central Asian nation. Drawing on a gas field traditionally reserved for exports to Russia, the new 19-mile (30-kilometer) pipeline will eventually more than double annual pipeline capacity to 20 billion cubic meters. The pipeline will be the second new energy route tapping into Central Asia's vast gas reserves to open in the space of a month when it is officially inaugurated Wednesday. The new energy export options are weakening Moscow's grip over the region's gas, while also dampening Western hopes of claiming a share of Turkmen energy exports.