Turkmenistan has secured US$2.5bn in loans from Japan and South Korea to develop a natural gas complex.

“The State Bank of Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan has struck a credit agreement for US$700mn with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and another one worth US$1.8bn with Korea Eximbank for 10 years to finance construction of the plant in the Balkan region of the country,” says a government official.

The credit agreement has been made with JBIC, the Korean export and import bank and their respective participating financial lenders.

Turkmenistan’s economy has grown at an annual rate exceeding 10% in recent years, owing mainly to rising natural gas exports to China via a pipeline launched at the end of 2009.

However, the country also aspires to diversify the economy, investing billions of dollars in construction of plants to yield value-added oil and gas products.

The new financing agreement will support the construction of a gas chemical complex in Kyyanli village in the Balkan province, which will produce ethylene, high-density polyethylene, and polypropylene from natural gas.

Turkmenistan is the world’s fourth-largest natural gases reserves.