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UZBEKISTAN - Exporting Beyond The Russian System.

Any major increase in Uzbek oil or gas exports in the future will depend on pipelines bypassing the Russian system. One of the many options being discussed since the 1999s is a US proposal for oil and gas pipelines to be built under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and from there for overland pipelines to pass through Turkey.

These pipelines, as the US proposes, would link the three Central Asian states - Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan - as well as Azerbaijan to Turkey and the Western markets.

The National Priorities: The first priority for the Tashkent government is self-sufficiency in all aspects of energy. This has been achieved, as the country's production of oil, gas and coal exceeds its local needs. The country will imports about 80,000 b/d of crude oil for its three refineries and some oil products which these plants cannot produce as yet.

Uzbekistan used to import gas from Turkmenistan's Amu Darya basin. The volume fell considerably from early 1997, after the completion of a 370-km internal pipeline. This links the Gazli gas field, near Bukhara in the central region, to the gas-consuming areas of Khorezm and Karakalpak. The pipeline from Turkmenistan is part of the old Soviet system, built many years ago to make all parts of the USSR inter-dependent under central control (see OMT).

The second priority is to diversify the country's economic base. Instead of concentrating on exports of crude oil and natural gas, the country is trying to develop its production capacity for petroleum products and petrochemicals that can be sold to nearby markets as well as to the West.

A $1 bn complex at Shurtan has been built for gas processing and production of petrochemicals. The gas feedstocks come from the nearby Shurtan group of fields. Apart from providing jobs to Uzbeks, this enables Uzbekistan to save considerably in the import of petrochemicals, with surplus production to be exported in 2003 (see Downstream Trends No. 19).
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Publication:APS Review Gas Market Trends
Geographic Code:9UZBE
Date:Nov 11, 2002
Previous Article:UZBEKISTAN - The Reserves.
Next Article:UZBEKISTAN - Independent Export Pipelines.

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