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Turkmen death puts gas supplies in turmoil

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Turkmen death puts gas supplies in turmoil

Reuters via CNN Money
MOSCOW - The death of Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov on Thursday plunges Europe's energy security into doubt, with the prospect of a struggle for power raising the specter of a new gas crisis.

The self-styled "Turkmenbashi" or "Head of the Turkmen" left no designated successor to lead the autocratic state, which had planned to step up its gas exports to help Russian gas monopoly Gazprom meet a quarter of Europe's needs.

"I expect there will be a massive fight for power now in Turkmenistan and it's likely to take place between pro-U.S. and pro-Russian forces," said a Russian gas industry source, who declined to be named.

"Gas will become the main coin of exchange and the key asset to get hold of. There shouldn't be any short-term problems with supplies to Russia and onward but in the mid-term it could become a nightmare.
(21 Dec 2006)

Turkmenbashi, "Father of All Turkmen," Dies

Vladimir Solovyov and Mikhail Zygar, Kommersant (Russia)
Death of Turkmenistan's Leader Causes Government Upheaval
Turkmenistan's President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazev, better known by his preferred nickname of Turkmenbashi, died early Thursday morning of cardiac arrest in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat. In violation of the country's constitution, Niyazov's inner circle named a deputy prime minister as his temporary replacement and imprisoned the speaker of parliament.

A period of mourning was declared across the country, the New Year's holidays were cancelled, and the army was put on full alert.

Niyazov's death may signal the beginning of a geopolitical power struggle among the country's neighbors, who covet Turkmenistan's vast reserves of natural gas.
(22 Dec 2006)
Kommersant is "Russia's Daily Online."

The Death of Turkmenbashi

Heading Out, The Oil Drum
...The reason for this little post is that Turkmenistan holds the fourth largest gas reserves around, and the future of these may now be in some doubt. We have written about some of the interplay between Turkmenistan, Russia and potential customers over the past year and it might be appropriate to repeat some of that information to remind you of the situation.
(21 Dec 2006)
Great background on a breaking story - TOD does it again! -BA

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