Plans are underway to supply Uzbekistan with gas sourced from Russia via the Middle Asia-Centre gas pipeline, Uzbek Energy Minister Jurabek Mirzamahmudov said on May 1 at an investment conference.
The Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline was initially being considered as an alternative route, but the plan was abandoned due to the pipeline’s wear and tear, the minister said.
Moscow and Tashkent are currently assessing the cost of constructing the compressor stations necessary for the reverse flow of gas. Following this stage, negotiations will commence on the terms of supplies.
The delivery of Russian gas to Uzbekistan via the Middle Asia-Centre gas pipeline is expected to provide a reliable energy source to the country. The development is also likely to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, as well as their co-operation in the energy sector. Uzbekistan has been seeking to diversify its gas supplies, which have largely come from neighbouring countries.
The move to source gas from Russia is seen as a significant development for Uzbekistan, which has been making efforts to modernise its energy infrastructure. The country is currently undertaking several energy projects, including the construction of a gas chemical plant and the modernisation of its power grid. The delivery of gas via the Middle Asia-Centre gas pipeline is anticipated to complement these projects and contribute to the country's overall economic development.
Russia is also looking for new customers after its gas deliveries to Europe were sharply curtailed last year after the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were destroyed in a mysterious explosion. Russia is looking to re-orientate its gas business from West to East.
The parties involved in the project are anticipated to reach an agreement on the terms of supplies after the cost of constructing the necessary compressor stations has been assessed. This development is expected to be a major boost to Uzbekistan's energy sector, which has been seeking to diversify its gas supplies and expand its infrastructure.