[This follows Russia’s loss of Turkmen gas to China, as well. SEE: Spread from China ]
Gas to Russia
Uzbekistan intends to sell China 10 billion cubic meters of gas, previously promised Russia. Official Tashkent agreed with President Hu Jintao
The Framework Agreement between the holding company Uzbekneftegaz and Chinese China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) on the supply of “blue fuel” was signed in Tashkent Right on 11 June, when the south of Kyrgyzstan inter-ethnic conflict erupted. And when it became clear that the interim government did not deal with the growing momentum bloody confrontation, there was at first behind the scenes, and then open option with an invitation to the CSTO, and / or Russia, that they would help the peace-keeping force.
It is known that Tashkent, under any circumstances, does not want to see in the Ferghana Valley Russian troops. Analysts immediately speculated that the steep bank toward the Middle Kingdom with the associated gas chord of Uzbekistan has made as a warning. After all, a framework agreement with China to anything not oblige, and, in principle, even it is not clear whether it will be sold at all.
As explained by the Interfax news agency a source in the Uzbek government, to transport gas from Uzbekistan to China will be the pipeline Central Asia – China (Turkmenistan – China). CNPC initially true, stipulated that no cutout in the pipeline Turkmenistan – China in the transit countries will not. Uzbekistan is a party proposes to organize a Chinese production and transportation of gas by CNPC, and the budget of Uzbekistan to pay the royalties.
Uzbekistan, along with Turkmenistan is the largest earner of natural gas in Central Asia (annual production – 65 billion cubic meters of gas). In 2009, according to the annual report of Gazprom, “Gazprom export” has significantly increased procurement in Uzbekistan – to 15,4 billion cubic meters, making Tashkent, the leader in gas sales in Russia among the countries of Central Asia. In the 2010-m “Gazprom export”, according to the current contract, intends to buy in Uzbekistan, 15.5 billion cubic meters.
Partnerships in Tashkent and Moscow in the plans of gas supplies was good enough for the ruling Uzbek elite, led by Islam Karimov. In January 2009, when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit in Tashkent, the Uzbek counterpart assured that “Uzbekistan will sell gas to Russia and only her, but who comes next” blue fuel “- is in the competence of Moscow.”
But the ambitious plans of Tashkent prevents insufficient capacity pipeline Central Asia – Center (CAC), which receives gas from Uzbekistan to Russia. The pipeline on the territory of Uzbekistan has lost its capacity from 56 to 45 billion cubic meters.
Meanwhile, experts suggest to upgrade it and raise the volume of the volume to 90 billion cubic meters. Here are the talks to expand the CAC have been frozen following the explosion on the pipeline CAC-4 on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. However, it seems, it was only a pretext: situation on the gas markets of the European Union demanded that Gazprom to lower sales volume and the decrease occurred mainly due to reduction in purchases of Central Asian gas.
“But this is not the only reason for the cooling of relations in sphere of energy policy of Russia and Uzbekistan. Russian companies do not want to invest in gas production in Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, since no long-term contracts and invest in ongoing contracts for the purchase of gas is risky” – said Russian newspaper “Sight” expert IFC Metropol Alexander Nazarov.
At Gazprom and LUKoil not comment on the agreement between Uzbekistan and China. It is reported by “Kommersant”.
“However, Tashkent, Moscow demonstrated that it is not worried about the current situation on the gas market in Europe. If Russia will further delay the increase in purchases of Uzbek gas, as well as necessary for the modernization of the transmission system, Uzbekistan shifting towards China. The more that China tries to dominate Central Asian energy market, “- said” Interfax “a British researcher, head of London-based Institute for War and Peace, John MacLeod.
Meanwhile, analysts’ opinions are divided. One believes that Uzbekistan began the traditional “flirtation” with the Kremlin, and thereby put pressure on Russia to troops in the conflict zone in southern Kyrgyzstan, neither the RF nor the CSTO is not entered. Others believe that the matter is not a third-party Moscow’s position in relation to inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan (given that it is Kremlin is so openly supported the new postperevorotnuyu power in the CD), and in the economic expansion of the Celestial Empire in Central Asia. Yes, and would do no harm to China to press the United States. The growing influence of America in the region are very concerned about Beijing.
According to the director of research programs in Russia and CIS Germanskogo Society for Foreign Policy Alexander Rahr, presented by the newspaper “Izvestia”, China receives in Central Asia, all he needs energy, uranium mining and export-import flows, and regularly pays for your cooperation. However, Beijing always bumps into the traps which are formed due to difficult relations between the countries of Central Asia.
“Many Chinese contracts were signed on a bilateral basis. But the geography of their actions related to multilateral situation. For example, a gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and China goes through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The Sino-Uzbek railway line to pass through Kyrgyzstan. Willy-nilly, China will have to take into account the surges unfriendliness between neighbors in the region of Central Asia “, – stressed Alexander Rahr.
The reason is that experts believe that the practical things are often associated with politics, as well as individual settings for each guide, dictated from outside.”Leaders believe their country in some way superior to the others. They are reluctant to let these other encroached on their interests,” – said Alexander Rahr.
At the same time, analysts believe that NATO already is feeling these regional difficulties. Recent railways of Uzbekistan has suspended the supply of Tajikistan, blocking part of cargo for NATO in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Dushanbe, never had a perfect relationship with Tashkent. But the situation deteriorated even further in connection with the controversial Tajik hydroelectric power station construction projects, which the Uzbek side, can lead to water shortages in Uzbekistan. John MacLeod believes that such incidents could lead to disruption of Chinese projects in Central Asia.
“We have a history of unstable relationships and far from ideal co …, where the usual argument about the distribution of payment of transit between the Uzbeks and Kazakhs could escalate … and a purely financial issue suddenly acquire political overtones,” – said the expert.
At the same time coming to power in Kyrgyzstan, the opposition, transformed into a temporary government, and its intention to build a unique and unrepeatable parliamentary republic from the raid made national characteristics as nervous neighbors, both China and Russia. Excessive democratic Kyrgyzstan, periodically shaken by “color revolutions” could seriously undermine the established framework of cooperation between Central Asian countries and powerful neighbors. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why all the States have adopted a wait and watch what the end a bloody standoff in the south of the country.
“In such a situation none of the foreign players pursuing in Central Asia, his interests, was not profitable to intervene in the events in Kyrgyzstan, so as not to spoil relations with other key partners – a reliable energy supplier Central Asia”, – the expert said IFC Metropol Alexander Nazarov In an interview with “The View.”
Russia – a generous soul
Analysts tend to think that the Chinese are trying to minimize the risk of local conflicts by providing each side some real benefits from the committed transactions. This is seen in the case of agreement on the Turkmen-Chinese gas pipeline, which provides that Uzbeks can also use it to export its gas.
John MacLeod notes that interest in Central Asia to cooperate with China has pragmatic roots.
Only China can invest in projects that are commercially not give immediate returns. They include construction of roads in Tajikistan, a study of oil and gas fields in Uzbekistan.
“It is unlikely that other foreign investors dare to operate in such difficult conditions. In this aspect, – says a British researcher, – the rulers of Central Asia do not think about big politics and treat China as an investment bank.”
This puts Russia party as a traditional Central Asian distribution of wealth in a rather awkward position. Before the global economic crises Kremlin poured funds from the sale of oil and natural gas projects in Central Asia. The crisis struck in Russia, giving financially more secure China’s free economic lever in Central Asia.
According to John MacLeod, though Moscow is trying to maintain equanimity, but by increasing the thermal effect in the relations between China and Central Asian countries “Shakes It”.
“I think Moscow is somewhat resigned to the fact that China’s economic expansion in terms of energy investment and exploration in Central Asia. Perhaps she does not like it, but she said that it was absolutely satisfied with this situation. But it is not entirely untrue, since Russia’s Gazprom has de facto control over the pipeline system of Central Asia. Kazakhstan is an independent oil importer, but despite this, Russia retains a key voice in decision making in the region, especially in the cases of turbulence on the political level “, – said John MacLeod.
24/06 13:14, Bishkek – IA “24.kg”, Daria PODILSKY