By Kamila Aliyeva
Natural gas production in Uzbekistan increased by 0.5 percent in 2017 up to 56.417 billion cubic meters compared to 2016, according to the Uzbek State Statistics Committee.
At the same time, the Central Asian country reduced oil production by 6.3 percent to 806,000 tons in 2017.
“Enterprises of the mining industry in Uzbekistan showed an increase in gas production by half a percentage point to the value of 2016, while crude oil production declined by 6.3 percent in the country,” the press service of the committee said in a message.
The national operator for extraction and processing of hydrocarbon raw materials - Uzbekneftegaz - informed earlier that by the end of the current year the volume of natural gas production in the country could increase by 17 percent to the level of 2017, reaching a value of 66 billion cubic meters.
Specialists of the state company explained that this could happen due to the successful development of deposits with the direct participation of foreign companies.
Over the past few years, Uzbekistan has been systematically facing an acute shortage of gasoline and some other petroleum products.
In Uzbekistan in 2010-2016, gasoline production decreased by 26.2 percent, diesel fuel - by 8.3 percent, while imports of hydrocarbons increased 1.3 times.
The total capacity of the three refineries currently reaches about 10 million tons, but due to a significant reduction in the reserves of raw materials in the country's active fields, the volumes of extraction of “black gold” and gas condensate are steadily declining.
The loading of the production capacities of the republican refineries reaches, in total, only 60 percent. To ensure their full supply from this year, the Uzbek authorities intend to import oil from Kazakhstan and Russia - up to 1 million tons in total.
On November 20, Kazakh company Kaztransoil began shipping Russian oil to Uzbekistan. Oil is pumped via the KazTransOil pipeline system en route Omsk-Pavlodar-Shymkent- Shagyr oil loading point, from where it is poured into railway tanks and then transported by rail to Uzbekistan.
In late April 2017, Uzbekistan started construction of a new refinery in Zafarobod district of the country’s Jizzakh region, which is expected to operate using the crude imported from Kazakhstan and Russia.
The refinery has design capacity of processing of five million tons of oil per year, production of 3.7 million tons of car fuel, over 700,000 tons of aviation fuel and 300,000 tons of associated oil products.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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