Turkmenistan’s President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamadov, has signed a decree to establish Turkmen National Oil and Gas Company (NAPECCO) in accordance with the country’s Development Program for the industry until 2030, Trend News Agency informed. NAPECCO will conduct exploration, drilling, mining and processing of country’s hydrocarbon resources and implement international energy projects.

Turkmenistan, one of the key suppliers of natural gas in the Caspian region for China and Iran, has recorded GDP growth of 6.7% in 2015, lower than IMF’s estimates of 8.5%, on the back of declining natural gas export revenues and lower public investment, Reuters reported.

In light of gas export decline, Ashgabat’s natural gas trade with Russia has also dropped to 4bcm in 2015, to be stopped altogether in 2016. State-owned Gazprom has announced that it opted for replacing Turkmenistan’s gas with gas imports from Uzbekistan. Moscow is thus believed to be pursuing a rule-and-conquer politics in Central Asia by creating a rift between the two Central Asian countries, with an aim to boost its once lost influence in the region, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty explained.