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Yearbook 1997

Turkmenistan. On July 5, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan issued a letter questioning Azerbaijan's ownership of the Kjapaz oil field. The oil field is located in the Caspian Sea, on the border between the two countries' sectors. The letter was prompted by a July 4 consortium of Russian and Azerbaijani oil companies signed an agreement to jointly exploit the oil field. According to Countryaah, Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmijradov called for the immediate cancellation of the agreement and a Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan commission to be set up to discuss the boundaries of the national sectors of the Caspian Sea.

1997 Turkmenistan

At a meeting between Turkmenistan's President Nijazov and Russian Federation President Yeltsin in early August, it was clear that the two Russian oil companies involved intended to break the agreement with Azerbaijan. Yeltsin regretted that he had never been informed of all the circumstances behind the oil business. Despite the Russian turnaround in the issue, Azerbaijani spokesmen insisted that the Kjapaz field, which is believed to hold 50-80 million tonnes of oil, belongs to Azerbaijan.

At the end of December, Turkmenistan agreed with Iran and Turkey to have the oil company Shell project a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via Iran and Turkey to Europe. At the same time, a 20-mile gas pipeline between Western Turkmenistan and northern Iran was inaugurated, which will probably be the first part of the longer pipeline. Turkmenistan is rich in natural gas but had so far had some difficulties in finding strong customers. Turkey, for its part, wanted to break unilateral dependence on the Russian Federation in terms of natural gas.

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