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Uzbekistan-China gas pipeline construction to start

The construction of Uzbekistan-China gas pipeline with capacity of 30 bcm is expected to begin at the beginning of the H2 of 2008, said Nurmohammad Ahmadov, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Uzbekneftgaz National Holding Company (NHC).

According to the schedule approved by the decree of the Uzbek president, the first line of the gas pipeline and compressor station is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

According to schedule, the first stage will end in January 2010. The second line of the gas pipeline and two more compressor stations are expected to be launched by January 2012. The project is carried out in line with the inter-government agreement on principles of construction and exploitation of Uzbekistan-China gas pipeline with 525km length.

The Uzbek-Chinese Asia Trans Gas JV is the construction client of the project, who will realize the project with the help of foreign loans. The Company has to design, construct and further operate this gas pipeline. The co-founders of the joint venture are Uzbekneftgaz National Holding Company and Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 5% share each. The first welding of the gas pipeline will take place on 1 July 2008. By that time the parties should coordinate finance sources and opening of new financing for the construction of major facilities.

Uzbekneftgaz National Holding Company plans to attract $1.5 billion till 2010 for the development of export system, gas pipelines and reconstruction of internal main gas pipelines in Uzbekistan. The deputy head of the company Shovkat Majidov said earlier that Uzbekistan will increase the export of natural gas in 2008 up to over 16 bcm (billion cubic meter) annually from the previous 14.7 bcm.

Some 12 bcm of gas will be dispatched to Russia in line with the contract with the Russian Gazprom, the remaining 4 bcm – to the neighboring countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In 2007, some 10.5 bcm of gas was dispatched to Russia, 2.8 bcm to Kazakhstan and 0.75bln and 0.65 bcm natural gas to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. (Turkish Weekly)