The European Union has broken through in efforts to lessen its dependence on Russian natural gas with a concrete offer of extra supplies from Turkmenistan. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU external relations commissioner, said the Turkmen president had last week guaranteed that 10bn cubic metres of gas a year would be available for the EU. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's pledge comes amid intense competition for access to Turkmenistan's huge gas reserves since the death last year of Saparmurat Niyazov, its isolationist former leader.