Turkmenistan’s largest gas field Galkynysh (also known as South Yolotan), according to a much disputed report from Gaffney, Cline & Associates, is the world's second-largest, with gas reserves of between 13.1 trillion and 21.2 trillion cubic metres. Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov issued decrees instructing the State ConcernTurkmengaz to sign deals for drilling and well development with: Halliburton Eurasia Ltd. (Cyprus) for preparing drilling solutions in the construction of the seven operation wells; Western Atlas International Inc. (USA) to fasten casing and production pipes with cement and for drilling seven development wells; and Weatherford Oil Tool M.E Ltd. (British Virgin Islands) to develop 14 production wells, delivery and installation of underground equipment in wells. Among other plans, Turkmenistan envisions to build two new pipelines to carry gas from the Galkynysh field. One pipeline would run to Pakistan and India, while the other would cross the Caspian Sea en route to the European Union, easing the bloc's dependence on Russian gas. However, no contracts have been signed yet.
Japan came courting to get a part of Turkmenistan’s action. Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs received Mr. Miyashita Tadayuki, Head of the Division for Central Asia and the Caucasus of the Department of European Affairs of Japan, to discuss preparations for a visit by Berdymukhamedov to Japan this year. Berdymukhamedov instructed his government to consider proposals from Japanese businesses to participate in prospective joint projects. Just a month earlier, talks with Yoichi Kobayashi, President of the Japanese-Turkmen economic cooperation committee and Executive Vice-President of “Itochu Corporation” and recent negotiations with representatives of Japanese business circles focused on possible joint ventures in petrochemical, gas processing, engineering, and electrical fields. To date, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) finances some projects in Turkmenistan and Japanese companies participate in fuel and energy sector modernization projects, including on the country's largest oil refinery in Turkmenbashi, where the total cost of modernization amounts to $1.6 billion.
Berdymukhamedov received the UK Prime Minister’s Special Trade Envoy for Turkmenistan, Charles Hendry, and Co-chairman of the Turkmen-British Trade and Industry Council, Ronald Nash, to discuss cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, trade and transportation spheres, communication, education, and health sectors. They discussed the Fifth Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts to be held at the Olympic Village in Ashgabat in 2017. Indeed, this event was the main subject of discussion during the Turkmen-British sports forum organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the State Sports Committee, and National Olympic Committee.
In a move to raise Turkmenistan’s profile as a regional player, Ashgabat hosted a meeting to discuss its Plan of Action entitled “Regional Infrastructure," drafted by Turkmenistan as part of the confidence-building measures to assist Afghanistan. The national coordinators and representatives from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the UK, the US, and Turkmenistan, as well as representatives from UN agencies participated in the meeting.
The oppositional website gundogar.org noted that Berdymukhamedov is named as the founder of most of the country’s newspapers and periodicals, however, this week, Berdymukhamedov ordered that they find new founders. “For example, the founder of the governmental newspaper Turkmenistan and Neutral Turkmenistan should be the Cabinet of Ministers, while the founder of Mugallymlar gazeti newspaper (Teacher's Newspaper) should be the Ministry of Education," the head of state said. The former transfer, however, will unlikely affect the tight state control that the government holds over the country’s mass media, which almost never reports anything critical about life in the country. For example, this week, Turkmenistan’s mass media didn’t report on Turkmenistan’s soccer team’s losses at the 2013 CIS cup.