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UZBEKISTAN - Part 2 - Big Oil & Gas Exports Depend On Trans-Caspian P/Ls

Landlocked Uzbekistan exports small quantities of crude oil and refined petroleum products. Exports of natural gas are far more important as they account for the bulk of the country's hard currency earnings. Oil and gas exports at present depend entirely on the Russian pipelines system, built many years ago as part of a centralised Soviet energy sector.

Almost all exports of oil and gas now are limited to fellow members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). This is because the Russians do not allow Turkmen exports to pass through their system to non-CIS markets.

Any major increase in crude oil or gas exports in the future will depend on pipelines bypassing the Russian system. One of the many options now under study is the 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, under the US proposal, would link the three Central Asian states, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, as well as Azerbaijan to Turkey and the Western markets. Tashkent believes the US proposal is the only viable option for Uzbek oil and gas exports to the West (see following & Gas Market Trends).

The government, from President Islam Karimov down, has become convinced that the US proposal will be achieved because any project backed by Washington will be easily financed. President Karimov is directly involved in related contacts with the US (see who's who in Downstream Trends).
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:9UZBE
Date:Oct 5, 1998
Words:246
Previous Article:UZBEKISTAN - E&P Offers
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