China National Petroleum Corporation, announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to import 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year for 30 years from Turkmenistan through a planned pipeline.

The deal will allow China to start a natural gas distribution network in Central Asia. Financial details were not disclosed.

Both countries had signed a general agreement on gas cooperation in April of 2006. CNPC said the agreement is a substantial step forward towards materializing the agreement.

Turkmenistan ranks fifth in the world in natural gas reserves.

Along with the implementation of the natural pipeline plan, China is also negotiating to get natural gas from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan through the same pipeline.