By Kamila Aliyeva
National companies Uztransgaz and Tajiktransgaz are considering the technical possibilities of resuming the supply of Uzbek gas to Tajikistan, Tajik Minister of Energy and Water Resources Usmonali Usmonzoda said on January 30, Central Asian media outlets reported.
The issue of gas supplies from Uzbekistan to Tajikistan was considered during the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which was held at the beginning of the month in Dushanbe.
The minister noted that in the framework of the meeting held at the level of the prime ministers of two countries both agencies were instructed to explore the possibility of resuming supplies of Uzbek blue fuel.
He stressed that the gas enterprises of the two countries had already held several rounds of talks.
“At the moment, technical capabilities of gas supplies to Tajikistan are being considered. It is necessary to fully study the state of the existing infrastructure, which has not been used for a long time. Also, the needs of Tajik enterprises in this fuel are being examined. In addition, it will be necessary to discuss the cost of the gas supplied. If prices are acceptable to the Tajik side, enterprises can conclude contracts with Uztransgaz directly or through Tajiktransgaz,” the official said.
Usmonzoda noted that over the past few years many Tajik enterprises have switched to the use of coal as fuel instead of gas.
The first round of talks on the resumption of natural gas supplies between Tajiktransgaz JSC and Uztransgaz JSC was held in the framework of the Tajik-Uzbek dialogue on energy cooperation in Termez in October 2017.
It was expected that by the end of 2017 all issues will be agreed upon and the parties will sign an annual contract on the basis of which from the beginning of 2018 Uzbek gas will be supplied to Tajikistan again. However, this has not happened yet.
Uzbekistan suspended gas supplies to Tajikistan in 2012. The main consumers of imported natural gas from Uzbekistan were Tajik Aluminum Company SUE and some other industrial enterprises, including Dushanbe cement plant. All these enterprises subsequently switched to synthesized gas, obtained from coal, or used coal as their fuel. Currently there are more than 200 such enterprises throughout the country.
Uzbekistan is rich in hydrocarbon resources, and about 60 percent of its territory possesses potential oil and gas reserves. The projected reserves of hydrocarbons stand at about 10 billion tons of standard fuel, while prospective ones amount to about 2 billion tons.
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.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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