By ALEXANDER VERSHININ
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Russia has doubled the purchases of natural gas from Turkmenistan this year amid rising global demand. Ambassador Alexander Blokhin said Friday that Russia this year stands to import about 10 billion cubic meters (353 billion cubic feet) of gas from Turkmenistan, nearly twice the amount imported in 2020. This year’s volumes were on par with the period before 2016 when Russia halted gas imports from the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation amid pricing disputes and a slump in global prices. Moscow resumed the purchases of the Turkmen gas in 2019, but China has overtaken Russia as the top export customer. Turkmenistan is overwhelmingly dependent on exports of its vast natural gas reserves.