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Tajikistan, China Break Ground for Landmark Gas Pipeline

Dushanbe and Beijing have launched construction of a key gas pipeline that will turn Tajikistan into a transit country for Central Asian gas supplies to neighboring China, the world’s largest energy consumer. The pipeline will lock Tajikistan into an energy partnership with its powerful neighbor from which the former Soviet Union’s poorest country will reap millions of dollars every year in transit fees. The project has “immense political, economic, and historical significance,” Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said at the groundbreaking ceremony on September 13. His visiting Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, described the pipeline as a “symbol of China-Tajikistan friendship.”

Rakhmon said he hoped Chinese companies would soon start energy production in Tajikistan, where firms prospecting for oil and gas believe there may be lucrative reserves. China’s state-run CNPC is one of them: It has a one-third stake in a production-sharing agreement for gas in southern Tajikistan, with France’s Total and offshore-registered Tethys Petroleum as partners. (eurasianet.org Edited by Topco)