24 Jan 2023 15:45

Gazprom signs roadmap on gas sector cooperation with Uzbekistan

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) - Gazprom has signed a roadmap on cooperation in the gas sector with the leadership of Uzbekistan a week after signing a similar document with Kazakhstan.

"A working meeting was held between [Gazprom CEO] Alexei Miller and Uzbek Energy Minister Jurabek Mirzamakhmudov. The parties considered current and prospective issues of cooperation. Alexei Miller and Jurabek Mirzamakhmudov signed a roadmap for cooperation in the gas sector at the meeting," the Russian gas giant said in a statement.

The leadership of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are discussing the possibility of boosting Russian gas supplies to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in light of growth in domestic consumption and export obligations to China. This may require modernization of gas transmission infrastructure or even construction of new pipelines. It will be necessary to invest about 260 billion rubles in the development of gas transmission infrastructure in Russia.

Uzbekistan has been facing a largescale energy crisis this winter amid extreme cold. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev harshly criticized civil servants for negligent performance of duties when preparing for the fall and winter at a recent meeting. According to the authorities, there is a gas shortage of up to 20 million cubic meters per day in Uzbekistan during winter peaks.

A decision was made in connection with this to ramp up imports of gas, electricity, coal, and fuel oil due to the shortage of energy resources amid growing cold in the country. Uzbekistan has thus begun importing 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Turkmenistan during the winter in order to meet domestic demand. Turkmenistan, however, suspended gas supplies between January 12 and January 21 due to technical problems. Supplies have now been resumed.

Uzbekistan is capable of producing approximately 70 bcm of natural gas per year, but due to depleted reserves, processing losses, and a lack of efficient system oversight, supplies of hydrocarbons have fallen substantially in recent years. Gas production fell in the country 4% in 2022 compared to 2021 to 51.7 bcm. According to Uzbek officials, the country could produce 56.3 bcm of natural gas in 2023.

Gazprom signed a roadmap with Kazakhstan on cooperation in the gas sector last week on January 18. The roadmap determines the main areas of cooperation between the parties, in particular, processing of Kazakh gas at Orenburg Gas Processing Plant, the possibility of supplies of Russian gas to Kazakhstan, and promising cooperation projects.