Uzbekistan 'cuts off gas' to Tajikistan

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

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The impoverished Central Asian state of Tajikistan says it has been cut off from natural gas shipments by its neighbour and sole energy supplier Uzbekistan.

The announcement comes amid traditional end-of-year contract negotiations and continuing tensions over Tajikistan's plans to build a hydroelectric power station that could choke off Uzbek water supplies.

"We have stopped receiving gas from Uzbekistan," a spokesman for the Tajiktransgas state gas company told AFP. "The supplies have been cut."

Energy power Uzbekistan last halted gas shipments to Tajikistan for two weeks in April.

Uzbekistan has been seeking to funnel its lucrative gas exports to new markets in China and has also curbed its shipments to Russia.

But Tajikistan - poorest of the ex-Soviet nations and still recovering from a 1990s civil war - has few other energy sources and suffers from chronic electricity shortages.

The nation of 7.5 million is now moving ahead with plans for a Rogun Dam project that would tap into the mountain country's abundant water resources.

Uzbekistan fears the dam could badly hurt its large cotton industry and become a national security threat.

Analysts estimate Tajikistan's gas requirements at 1.2 billion cubic metres a year.

The country only received 133 million cubic metres at a price of $US300 per 1000 cubic metres in 2012. The amount has been enough to operate just one Tajik power plant.

Uzbekistan's announcement last Tuesday that it intended to interrupt its Tajik supplies prompted urgent calls for negotiations from Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov.

Uzbek gas authorities have issued no immediate comment.

01/08/2014 17:46Sydney, Australia. 1 August,2014
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