The territory of Turkmenistan is extremely rich in natural resources. The principle one among them is doubtless the natural gas. Its re-serves, estimated in 12,000 thousand millions of cubic metres, po-tentially make the country one of major producers in the world. The main fields are concentrated in the region of Mary, where there is the important plant of Shatlyk, and in the region of Turkmenabat, where the plant of Farab is active. Among natural resources of Turkmeni-stan petroleum is also of great importance. Its estimated reserves amount to 6,300 millions tons. The main fields are placed along the shore of the Caspian Sea and in the adjacent continental shelf. Oilfields in the peninsula of Cheleken, in the place Koturdepe and in the same Cheleken, are of great importance, while to the south, not far from the Iranian border, there are the oilfields of Okarem. In the interior of the coast belt the most important oilfields are situated at Nebit Dağ and at Kum Dağ. In the region of Turkmenabat and in the Karakum desert there are also sulphur bodies, while in the peninsula of Cheleken there are plants for the mining of iodine salts. Among natural resources mirabilite, sodium sulphate, is of great importance, mined in the gulf of Kara Bogaz Gol.
The exploitation of the very rich reserves of fossil fuels is the main leading sector of Turkmen economy and it can become a further po-tentiality of development of great importance. In the years immedia-tely following the independence of the country, anyway, the need of realizing a new network of pipelines that liberate Turkmenistan from the necessity of utilizing old channels of exportation, traditionally oriented towards other Soviet republics, has been noticed with evi-dence. The strong determination showed by the Turkmen govern-ment for the achievement of this object made it possible to establish in a few years stable and profitable relations of cooperation with the neighbouring countries. Already in 1994 an agreement of cooperation has been stipulated with Iran and Turkey for the realization of a gas-pipeline reaching Europe through these countries. But the most signi-ficant agreement with regard to this is probably the one stipulated last 30th of May at Islamabad with Afghanistan and Pakistan for the realization of Transafghan gas-pipeline, which through the territory of these countries should make it possible that Turkmen gas can reach the shores of the Arabic Sea and consequently an outlet towards in-ternational markets. According to the scheduled route, the new gas-pipeline should start from the fields of Dauletabad and through Af-ghan provinces of Herat and Kandahar should enter into the Pakista-ni territory and then it should reach the port of Multan, on the shores of the Arabic Sea. The total length of the structure should exceed 1,480 kilometres.

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