Will the energy pattern in Central Asia change?

Seetao 2023-01-31 09:11
  • Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan nod one after another, marking that the three-party natural gas alliance has begun to take shape
  • Through this cooperation, Russia, which has been suppressed by the United States and the West, has a new energy export channel
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12 Minutes

As early as the fall of 2021, Europe was already in the grip of energy shortages. Can the Central Asian country avoid a major blackout in late 2022 or early 2023? Under what circumstances would consumers be completely cut off from power? How to get rid of the energy crisis? A few days ago, Uzbekistan focused on solving the energy shortage problem that also appeared in the country. Under such circumstances, Uzbekistan, which previously rejected the proposal of Russia's tripartite natural gas alliance, immediately changed its attitude and started negotiations with Russia on natural gas cooperation.

According to the Uzbekistan side, the Ukrainian Energy Ministry has held talks with Gazprom to discuss the possibility of supplying natural gas from Russia to Uzbekistan.

According to reports, the Minister of Energy of Uzbekistan has signed a cooperation roadmap with Russia, and the working groups of the two sides have agreed on the technical measures required for the implementation of natural gas transit through the Central Asia-Central Natural Gas Pipeline. The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine stated that after the agreement on technical measures is completed, the main conditions for the supply of natural gas will be discussed.

According to multiple sources, after Ukraine and Russia signed the road map, Uzbekistan raised some questions, including in what direction will Ukraine and Russia cooperate? What are the terms of cooperation? How much natural gas will Ukraine import? There is also news on the Internet that some energy companies in Uzbekistan will be handed over to Gazprom for trust management.

It is worth noting that Uzbekistan emphasized in its statement that the main purpose of the negotiations with Russia and the planning of the "road map" is to meet Uzbekistan's domestic natural gas demand, and that Uzbekistan has fully retained its domestic natural gas supply. Some ownership and management rights of the natural gas transmission system.

The Ministry of Energy of Ukraine also made a guarantee that all cooperation with Russia is to protect the national interests of the country, and will not pose a threat to the sovereignty of the country.

Turkmenistan has resumed winter gas supplies to Uzbekistan to meet its domestic demand, Uzbekistan Gas Company representatives said.

"Turkmenistan's natural gas supply has been gradually restored since the 22-23." The representative of the Uzbekistan Gas Company said that the daily natural gas transported from the Turkmenistan side has reached 12.6 million cubic meters.

Earlier, local media reported that since January 12, Turkmenistan had suspended gas supplies to Uzbekistan due to frost. It is understood that as early as January 18, Kazakhstan's First Deputy Prime Minister Sklar and Gazprom Chairman Miller met in St. Petersburg to discuss the main issues of cooperation in the natural gas field between the two countries. After the talks, a road map was also signed, which determined the main direction of cooperation between the two sides: 1. The Orenburg natural gas processing plant processing Kazakhstan's natural gas; 2. The possibility of Russia supplying natural gas to Kazakhstan; 3. Other promising cooperation project.

Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan nodded one after another, marking that the three-party natural gas alliance has taken shape. This news is undoubtedly good news for Russia. Through this cooperation, Russia, which has been suppressed by the United States and the West, has a new energy export channel. Russian gas is also expected to be sold to more countries through the hands of the two countries. Russia can also use this to obtain sufficient funds to deal with conflicts .

So, how will the tripartite natural gas alliance affect China? According to media analysis, Uzbekistan has not handed over the Chinese market.

The reservation of ownership of the domestic natural gas transmission system mentioned by the Ukrainian side in the statement is one of the conditions previously proposed by the Russian side in the tripartite gas alliance.

At the end of November 2022, Russia stated that it would establish a "tripartite natural gas alliance" with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan based on commercial interests. In this cooperation, the Russian side set two conditions. One is to supply Gazprom gas through the "Central Asia-Central" pipeline, and the other is that Gazprom replaces the Ukrainian company as the main supplier of gas to China. Simply put, in order to cooperate with Russia, Uzbekistan must give up the Chinese market. Therefore, after the Russian side proposed the initiative for the first time, Uzbekistan resolutely chose to reject it.

According to data from the Uzbek National Bureau of Statistics, its domestic natural gas exports in the past year amounted to US$91.09 billion, most of which were exported to China. It can be seen that the Chinese market is very important to this energy exporting country.

Therefore, under the current situation in Uzbekistan, although Russia's proposal can effectively alleviate its domestic dilemma, Uzbekistan still understands the importance of the Chinese market. This is also the main reason why Uzbekistan seized the right to supply gas to China during the second negotiation.

In the cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia, it is mentioned that Kazakhstan will upgrade the domestic pipeline transportation system, and carry out "gasification" transformation in the east and north. Finally, Kazakhstan also decided to transport natural gas to Russia for processing, and Gazprom is allowed to transit Kazakhstan to China. Editor/Xu Shengpeng