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Turkmenistan closes London energy investment office

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It has been announced that gas producer Turkmenistan is shutting its London office space responsible for drawing investment into its energy sector.

A presidential decree announcing the closure said the measure was necessary “to further improve and enhance the effectiveness” of the State Agency for the Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources, the institution responsible for attracting investment, negotiating and issuing licenses for the Central Asian country’s growing energy sector.

However the exact explanation as to the reason behind the closure is not clear as of yet,”It’s illogical. Maybe they will reopen their office in Abu Dhabi or New York, I have no idea,” Alexei Kokin, analyst with Uralsib bank in Moscow, told Reuters.

Turkmenistan, which has 4 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves, sends its gas north to Soviet-era master Russia but is becoming an increasingly important supplier to China, Iran and Europe.

The London office of the State Agency for Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources, directly responsible to President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is to be shut down “to increase the agency’s efficiency”, said the statement, which was published by state media.

The importance of the change was indicated by the decree, signed by President Gurbangulu Berdymuhammedov. News of the office closure triggered speculation that Turkmenistan might consider alternative locations, including the Middle East, where investor interest in its energy projects was likely to be more concentrated and positive than in cash-strapped Europe.

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