TURKMENISTAN DOUBLES ELECTRICITY EXPORTS TO NEIGHBORING AFGHANISTAN
As the Turkmen state news agency (TSNA) reports, an inauguration ceremony of a substation that started receiving electricity from Turkmenistan was held yesterday in Herat, an administrative center of the Afghan northern province of the same name. Afghan energy workers built the substation, while their Turkmen colleagues built the 102-km Serkhetabat (former Kushka) - Herat power transmission line in the end of last year. On request of the Afghan side, Turkmenistan urgently supplied electricity on May 2. Now, as the TSNA says, up to 200 mln kWh of electricity a year will be supplied from the largest in Turkmenistan Mary power station to the friendly country through the power transmission line, a two fold increase on the previous level of export.
According to the TSNA the governor of Heart, Ismail Khan, while receiving a delegation from Turkmenistan, cordially thanked Saparmurat Niyazov and the friendly people of Turkmenistan for providing assistance and support in the effort to reconstruct the economy of Afghanistan, its social infrastructure and set up peaceful life for the people of Afghanistan.
The power transmission line that has connected Serkhetabat and Herat is the second stage of dynamically developing cooperation between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in the field of electricity. President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov and head of the interim government of Afghanistan Khamid Karzai signed documents on March 7, 2002, providing for construction of two more high-voltage power transmission lines. The first one - Imamnazar (Turkmenistan) - Andkhoy - Shibirgan - Mazari Sharif - was built in the first half of 2002. As the TSNA notes, Turkmen energy workers demonstrated true courage in construction of the energy bridge to Afghanistan. Some parts of the power transmission line ran through a territory still bearing marks of long years of harsh battles: remains of combat hardware, mines and bombs. Turkmenistan plans to build big power transmission lines to Kabul and Kandahar and further to the markets of Pakistan and India in future.
Saparmurat Niyazov declared in August 2003 that taking into consideration complexity of the situation with reconstruction of the economy of the neighboring country, an export price would be reduced from US 3 to 2 cents per kWh for the Afghan consumers. The leader of Turkmenistan grounded his decision on the intention of giving the economy of brotherly state a chance to get to its feet and reconstruct the war-ravaged industry.
According to the TSNA it is expected that Afghanistan will receive electricity worth $ 4 mln in 2004. In prospect, in view of the expected increase in electricity consumption in Herat, there will be supplied up to 400 mln kWh of electricity annually through the power transmission line with an average capacity of 50 megawatt.
(Based on reports of the Turkmen mass media)