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7 Oct, 2023 13:51

Russia starts supplying gas to Central Asia

The deliveries are destined for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
Russia starts supplying gas to Central Asia

Russia on Saturday launched natural gas deliveries to Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan. President Vladimir Putin attended an official launch ceremony alongside his Kazakh and Uzbek counterparts, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Shavkat Mirzoyev.

According to the Russian president, the project is mutually beneficial and aims to strengthen energy security in the region. While most of the flows are destined for Uzbekistan, some of them will divert to north-eastern regions of Kazakhstan, with which Russia shares a border.

The implementation of this project will have obvious benefits for all three countries. Uzbekistan will get an additional source of energy, allowing it to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of heat and electricity to households and socially important facilities. Kazakhstan will be able to solve the issue of gasification of its northern and eastern regions; Gazprom is already working out appropriate routes and parameters of gas supply,” Putin said at the launch ceremony.

The project will also help Russia “confirm its status as a reliable supplier of natural gas,” he added, signaling that the project may in time expand to include additional buyers.

We are open to further cooperation [and] we will strive to meet the needs of all our Kazakh and Uzbek friends, partners and other consumers interested in this type of fuel,” he told launch attendees.

The president had earlier noted that the project is facilitating “the first exports of this kind in the history of these gas pipeline systems, because never before has Russian gas been pumped toward Central Asia.”

Uzbekistan, which shares a border with Kazakhstan, reached a deal to buy gas from Russia in June this year. Under the agreement, Russia’s gas major Gazprom will supply the Central Asian country with 2.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually over the next two years through a reversed Soviet-era pipeline connecting Central Asia to Russia, known as Central Asia-Center, or CAC. The pipeline has until recently been used to deliver gas northward from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan’s southern neighbor.

Gazprom in tandem inked a deal with Kazakhstan’s QazaqGaz on the transit of its gas to Uzbekistan. According to a report by Kommersant business daily, that agreement envisioned the overall transit of six billion cubic meters of gas through the CAC annually, which, according to analysts, implies that other Central Asian countries may also come to import Russian gas via this route.

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