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ASHGABAT (TCA) — Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom on July 3 said it has agreed to import natural gas from Turkmenistan until July 2024 as part of a deal with the Central Asian country’s state-owned Turkmengaz company.

In a statement on its website, Gazprom said it would import up to 5.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. Gazprom resumed its procurements of Turkmen gas in April 2019. Between April 15 and June 30, a total of 1.2 billion cubic meters was delivered under a short-term contract.

The volumes of natural gas flowing from Turkmenistan to Russia via a Soviet-era pipeline are much lower compared to what they were at the peak in trade between the two countries, RFE/RL reported.

Russia used to be the leading importer of Turkmen gas but was displaced by China around the beginning of the decade.

Relatively cheap imports of gas from Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries enabled Russia to boost its exports to Europe.

Gazprom in 2015 announced it was cutting imports of Turkmen gas from 10 billion cubic meters annually in 2010 to 4 billion.

At the beginning of 2016, it ceased buying Turkmen gas completely because of disagreements about the price.

Turkmenistan's economy is highly dependent on the export of hydrocarbons as a source of hard currency.

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