Uzbekistan is set to raise consumer gas prices from April 1, a potentially hugely unpopular move given the chronic gas shortages in the country.
State oil and gas company Uzbekneftegaz has announced that gas prices will be increased by 14% for customers with gas meters, from UZS122.85 ($0.06) per cubic metre to UZS139.8. Customers who do not have meters will have to pay UZS 241.85 per cubic metre up from UZS212.85 at present, UzDaily reports. The price increase was approved by the finance ministry on March 15, and will come into effect on April 1.
The move is clearly designed to take effect after the end of the current heating season. However, domestic power shortages worsened in Uzbekistan in 2011 and 2012, with many parts of the country having supplies of gas and electricity interrupted during the winter months.
Last year, Uzbekistan increased energy exports to $5.03bn up from just $2.78bn in 2011, with most of the increase due to the start of gas exports to China through the Central Asia-China gas pipeline in August. Tashkent planned to export 4bn cm of gas to the Asian giant in 2012, but is looking at a target of 10bn cm this year.
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