ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) -- Turkmenistan has launched a new $2.5 billion natural gas pipeline that would boost the energy-rich nation's export capacity.
The 773-kilometer (480-mile) pipeline links gas fields in the east of the country to its Caspian Sea coast.
Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Wednesday said the new pipeline would create a "powerful basis" for exporting Turkmen gas and help develop energy cooperation with Russia and Kazakhstan.
The three countries have discussed a prospective gas pipeline that would lead north to Russia along the Caspian coast, and Berdymukhamedov said the future of the project depends on "political will" of their leaders.
In the future, the new Turkmen pipeline could also open the possibility of shipping Turkmen gas to Western markets via a prospective Trans-Caspian pipeline.