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Uzbekistan to Boost Natural Gas Processing

Friday 15 May 2015

TASHKENT (Reuters) – Uzbekistan plans to implement $18.65 bln worth of investment projects in the next five years to re-orient its energy sector from exports to processing of natural gas, the head of state oil and gas company Uzbekneftegaz said on Wednesday.

“We aim to re-orient the work of our companies to make the processing of natural gas into highly liquid products with high added value the cornerstone of our policy instead of exports of this strategic commodity”, Shokir Fayzullaev said. He was addressing an international oil and gas conference in the Uzbek capital Tashkent held annually to attract foreign investors and modern technologies to the Central Asian nation’s energy sector.

The government programme for 2015-19 includes 54 investment projects aimed at creating new capacities to produce an additional 8.55 bln m³ (bcm) of natural gas, 71,700 tonnes of crude oil and 161,000 tonnes of gas condensate a year, according to Fayzullaev.

Of the total investments worth $18.65 bln, the government aims to attract $5.109 bln in foreign direct investments and loans, he said. He did not elaborate.

Local officials say the country produces 60 bcm of natural gas annually, but in the past two years Uzbekistan has not officially published its hydrocarbon production figures. An Uzbekneftegaz official said on the sidelines of the conference that figures relating to annual oil and gas production and exports were still considered confidential.

Uzbekneftegaz announced the annual production of hydrocarbons in Uzbekistan will increase by 1.9% in 2019, compared to 2014, while the natural gas production will increase by 2%. Uzbekistan reduced the oil production by 7.1% and brought it to 2.9 mln metric tons in 2013, while the gas production was lowered by 2.6 and stood at 55.2 bcm, according to BP.

The implementation of the development program will ensure 468.7 mln tons of increase in oil equivalent, including 365 bcm of increase in natural gas reserve, according to the materials of Uzbekneftegaz. The capacity of Uzbekneftegaz currently allows producing around 70 bcm of natural gas and 8 mln metric tons of liquid hydrocarbons per year.

Recoverable proven hydrocarbon reserve of Uzbekistan exceeded 2.5 bln tons of oil equivalent as of early 2015 and around 65% of this volume accounted for gas reserve.

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