Gazprom, the Russian energy major, has announced plans to strengthen its cooperation with Central Asian countries by expanding natural gas supplies to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan through the Central Asia-Center (CAC) pipeline system. Aleksey Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, disclosed this information during a plenary meeting at the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum.
Miller emphasized the successful history of collaboration between Gazprom and the three Central Asian countries on various projects. He stated, “This is a new milestone. We are establishing a long-term contractual basis for our partnership. We have defined the scope for cooperation with colleagues from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan for 15 years ahead.” The intention is to establish the contractual basis for this collaboration by mid-2024.
Gazprom’s objective is to expand Russian gas supplies to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan while also increasing gas transportation capacities in Kazakhstan through the CAC gas pipeline system. Miller highlighted that this expansion entails not only transit capacities but also direct supplies of Russian gas to consumers in Central Asia.
The CAC pipeline system, operated by Gazprom, is an onshore project spanning 4,892km. Its natural gas pipelines run from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Russia. The pipeline system was constructed between 1960 and 1988 and has been crucial in facilitating the transportation of natural gas across the region.
Russia’s decision to strengthen its cooperation with Central Asian countries comes at a time when the European Union (EU) has been actively reducing its oil and gas imports from Russia due to sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine. By diversifying its energy supplies and expanding its presence in Central Asia, Gazprom aims to maintain a stable market for its natural gas.
This move not only benefits Gazprom but also presents opportunities for the Central Asian countries. The increased natural gas supplies from Russia will support their economic development and energy security. Additionally, this collaboration will foster stronger ties and deeper integration between Russia and Central Asian nations.
The expansion of Gazprom’s presence in Central Asia aligns with Russia’s broader strategy of strengthening its energy sector and its position as a major gas exporter. By actively engaging with Central Asian countries, Russia can further consolidate its influence in the region and ensure a stable supply of natural gas to its customers.
In conclusion, Gazprom’s plans to expand natural gas supplies to Central Asia through the CAC pipeline system signify a new milestone in the cooperative relationship between Gazprom and the Central Asian countries. The long-term partnership aims to establish a contractual basis for collaboration and strengthen energy ties between Russia and Central Asia. This expansion will bring multiple benefits, including economic growth, energy security, and regional integration. It further reinforces Gazprom’s position as a leading global energy player and highlights Russia’s commitment to diversifying its energy markets.