China will loan Turkmenistan US$3 billion to expand its South Yolotan natural gas field, AP reported, citing Turkmen state media. The loan continues China’s efforts to reach out to Central Asian nations in an attempt to secure its own long-term energy supplies. A 7,000-kilometer gas pipeline between China and Turkmenistan is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. The South Yolotan field, which is located near the Afghan border, is projected to hold nearly 6 trillion cubic meters of gas, making it one of the world’s largest known deposits. Turkmen media also reported that Ashgabat agreed to sell China 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually beginning in late 2010.