Russia pushes for ‘gas union’ in Central Asia — RT Business News

Alliance is needed to coordinate gas supplies and could benefit countries’ energy exports, Russian officials say

Russia is discussing the creation of a « gas unionwith Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, allowing the three countries to coordinate their supplies and make gas flows more efficient, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

The plan was first announced this week by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who said the initiative came from his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Peskov confirmed this, saying that the program envisages greater coordination between the three countries, as well as the development of gas consumption and transport infrastructure for their domestic markets.

« What President Putin has in mind is to set up a coordination mechanism as a first step. Maybe – this is still to be discussed – with some kind of legal entity to facilitate cooperation between the three countries« , Peskov said.

The official pointed out that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have rapidly developing economies, with growing domestic demand for gas. In addition, the three nations sell their gas on foreign markets and can benefit from « some synchronization, » he explained.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak also commented on the project, saying it has great potential, especially for gas exports outside the proposed union.

« Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have effectively had a unique gas transportation system since Soviet times. We have a great potential for mutual cooperation regarding the supply of gas, its treatment… and its exports to other destinations“, Novak told reporters, adding that China could become one of those destinations.

The three countries are connected by the Central Asia Gas Pipeline System, a network of natural gas routes controlled by Gazprom, which runs from Turkmenistan via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Russia. A separate pipeline, Central Asia – China, crosses both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan between Turkmenistan and China.

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