Uzbekistan may be compelled to cut down domestic consumption to be able to up gas export
Uzbekistan exported 9 billion cubic meters of gas by the Central Asia - Center gas pipeline in 2006 and aspired to up export by 4 billion cubic meters in 2007. Gazprom of Russia is the recipient. It uses Uzbek gas to fulfill its long-term contracts with European consumers. The increase by 44.4% from Uzbek gas fields is the highest ever recorded in gas export from Uzbekistan. Also importantly, it offers Gazprom a time-out it needs to clarify matters with Turkmen gas.
Gas import from Uzbekistan began in May 2003 when it did not really amount to too much. The events in Andijan and the ensuing shift in Uzbekistan's foreign policy enabled Gazprom to set up a record in gas import from this country (8 billion cubic meters of gas).
There is no saying at this point exactly how Uzbekistan intends to fulfill its export obligations. Uzbekistan is one of the world's ten largest gas countries (over 6.25 trillion cubic meters or 1.62 trillion cubic meters that may be produced). Annual gas production amounts to approximately 60 billion cubic meters and 5 billion cubic meters of them are exported to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Save for the annual volumes reserved for Gazprom under the existing accords, all the rest is domestically consumed.
Gazprom's and LUKOIL's gas projects in Uzbekistan are in too early stages as yet to up production in any significant manner. That leaves Tashkent only two options. Either the Russian companies intend to boost production in Ustyurt and Kandym to provide the necessary 4 billion cubic meters Tashkent has pledged to deliver to its foreign customers, or Uzbekistan will have to cut down domestic consumption.