26 May 2022 14:01

Russia seeks full-fledged membership in C. Asian countries' Coordinating Energy Council - minister

BISHKEK. May 26 (Interfax) - Russia wants to become a full-fledged member of the Coordinating Energy Council of the Central Asian countries, Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said.

"Russia attaches great importance to electricity cooperation and stands ready to help its neighbors strengthen energy security, as it happened, for instance, during the January 25, 2022, emergency. Conclusions have been drawn following it: Central Asia has limits in its grids, problems with interchanges, overloads, and this will exacerbate in the absence of integration," Shulginov said at the First Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek on Thursday.

"The Russian Federation holds observer status with the Coordinating Energy Council of the Central Asian countries, but would like to become its full-fledged member," he said.

Sanctions pressure has disrupted the energy supply logistics chains first of all, he said.

"Our objective, like never before, is to ensure uninterrupted supplies needed for our functioning, and it is necessary to build new logistics chains through countries of the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU] to friendly countries, among others," Shulginov said, adding that the EAEU member countries enjoy a competitive edge - the availability of reasonable prices for hydrocarbons.

New pipelines should be built and existing ones should be extended within the EAEU, he said.

"Drastic changes have occurred in the world today, making one reconsider security issues and new corridors for delivering gas and other products. A South Asia gas pipeline project is very promising," the minister said.

"Today's short-term plans include synchronization with the power grid of Tajikistan, which quit the joint system in 2009. But there is also the important CASA-1000 project, which Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are interested in. This project will make it possible to send excess electricity to districts of Afghanistan and Pakistan which are poor in energy resources," Shulginov said.

It is also possible to arrange energy flows from Siberia to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, a step that will help "mitigate all problems and will become one of the elements of the effective use of integration," he said.

"Regional cooperation will help us resist the most powerful threats and enhance integration," Shulginov said.