Turkmenistan fires economy minister
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan’s president has sacked his economy minister and two deputy ministers covering the energy sector, according to decrees published on Saturday in the central Asian nation reliant on gas exports.
Head of state Serdar Berdimuhamedow signed the decrees in a country, which according to British oil company BP, can boast the world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves.
Turkmenistan depends on exports to China and to a less extent Russia and Iran.
Last autumn, the ex-Soviet republic voiced readiness to export gas via the Caspian Sea to Europe, which faces shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
To diversify its export earnings, Turkmenistan is working on a gas pipeline to supply India and Pakistan via Afghanistan but the project has suffered repeated problems, particularly since the Taliban returned to power in Kabul in August 2021.
In mid-January, Turkmenistan’s deputy minister for oil and gas and the boss of state run Turkmen gas — the de facto gas minister — were both reprimanded by the president.
At the start of the month, the national security minister, who fronts the secret services, and the top judge on the Supreme Court were also removed from office.