Uzbekistan to import Russian gas for first time in October

AFP , Monday 19 Jun 2023

Uzbekistan said on Monday it has signed a two-year contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom for deliveries of natural gas, as Russia seeks new markets for its sanctions-hit energy exports.

File Photo: A view shows the Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft s Moscow oil refinery on the south-eastern outskirts of Moscow on April 28, 2022. AFP


Gazprom is to send about 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas a year, from October 1, said Uzbekistan's energy ministry, adding this will be the nation's first importation of Russian gas.

The gas will be delivered via the Soviet-era Central Asia-Center pipeline that links Russia with the region's former Soviet republics.

The contract was signed on Friday in Saint Petersburg against the backdrop of a sharp decline in gas deliveries to Europe, which has dramatically reduced imports of Russian gas since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has been trying to shift some of its exports to Central Asia, particularly to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which have faced energy shortages despite their own gas and oil resources.

Moscow has expressed its desire to create a "gas union" with the two countries.

Last winter, Uzbekistan suffered a severe energy crisis due to sharp rise in demand, exacerbated by particularly cold weather and aging infrastructure.

Although the country produced 51.7 bcm of gas in 2022, it was forced to temporarily suspend its gas exports to China.

In January, Uzbekistan announced a deal with Gazprom for gas deliveries from March, but has not provided any details since.

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