Turkmenistan Awards $9.7 Billion In Gas Contracts

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Turkmenistan awarded natural gas service contracts worth up to $9.7 billion to companies from China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates to develop the South Yolotan region of Turkmenistan. The central Asian country holds the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world and the South Yolotan area is one of the world's largest deposits of the fuel, according to Bloomberg News.

China National Petroleum Corp., LG International Corp. and Petrofac International (UAE) LLC were among the companies that were awarded contracts by the Turkmen government. Turkmenistan hopes to extract as much as 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from South Yolotan. State-run China Development Bank will provide financing up to $4 billion for development of South Yolotan.

International oil companies such as BP (BP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) have long sought access to Turkmenistan's gas reserves, Bloomberg reported.

Turkmenistan is hoping to boost its production of natural gas to 250 billion cubic meters by 2030. The South Yolotan deposit may hold as much as 14 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, according to the Turkmen government. That's more than twice the estimated natural gas reserves in the U.S.