Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world to Russia, Iran and the United States in natural gas reserves. The
Turkmenistan Natural Gas Company (Turkmengaz), under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, controls gas extraction
in the republic. Gas production is the youngest and most dynamic and promising sector of the national economy. Turkmenistan's
gas reserves are estimated at 8.1-8.7 trillion cubic meters and its prospecting potential at up to 21 trillion cubic meters.
The Ministry of Oil and Gas oversees exploration of new deposits. Sites under exploration are located in Mary Province, in
western and northern Turkmenistan, on the right bank of the Amu Darya, and offshore in the Caspian Sea.
Most of Turkmenistan's oil is extracted by the Turkmenistan State Company (Concern) Turkmennebit from fields
at Koturdepe, Nebitdag, and Chekelen near the Caspian Sea, which have a combined estimated reserve of 700 million tons. The
oil extraction industry started with the exploitation of the fields in Chekelen in 1909 (by Nobel brothers) and Nebitdag in
the 1930s, then production leaped ahead with the discovery of the Kumdag field in 1948 and the Koturdepe field in 1959. Big
part of the oil produced in Turkmenistan is refined in Turkmenbashy and Seidi refineries. Also, oil is exported by tankers
through Caspian Sea to Europe and other international markets.
Oil production reached peaks of 14,430,000 tons in 1970 and 15,725,000 tons in 1974, compared with 5,400,000
tons in 1991. Today, some 10 million ton of oil is produced annually by Turkmennebit and foreign oil companies operating
Modernizing the park of equipment and operating techniques of Turkmennebit and Turkmengaz with the help of
suppliers and service companies, attracting more foreign oil companies for PSA and joint operation contracts in order to significantly
increase production of hydrocarbon's is one of the main tasks for the country's petroleum industry.