The leaders of China and three Central Asian countries inaugurated on Monday a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China.
The presidents of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China assembled at Turkmenistan's Samandepe gas field to unveil the pipeline, which runs across Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan into China's western Xinjiang region.
The pipeline is planned to pump up to 40 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas to China annually over the next 30 years, and is scheduled reach its projected capacity by 2013.
The pipeline is 1,833 km long, of which 188 km is in Turkmenistan and 530 km in Uzbekistan. The pipeline bypasses Russia, to which Turkmenistan has sold most of its gas until recently.
Construction of the Turkmenistan-China pipeline began in August 2007 in the special economic zone of Bagtyyarlyk, on the left bank of the Amudarya River, which is being developed by China Natural Petroleum Corporation.
ASHGABAT, December 14 (RIA Novosti)