Tuesday, April 24, 2012 -
Tajik state-operated enterprise Tajikcement inked a preliminary deal on Monday with a Chinese firm for assistance on switching the cement producer from gas fuel to coal.
The mountainous Central Asian republic has very little natural gas of its own and is wholly dependent on supplies from neighboring Uzbekistan, a country with which it has fractious relations.
Tajikistan began scrambling in earnest to find sources of alternative fuel for its national enterprises following suspension of Uzbek gas deliveries during the first half of April. Tajikcement was forced to immediately suspend operations when the Uzbek gas company cut supplies on April 1.
Tajik Energy and Industry Minister Gul Sherali a Memorandum of Understanding with a visiting Chinese delegation that included representatives of the country’s leading gas meter manufacturer Beijing Jinchuang Combined Gas Meter, the AsiaPlus.tj news agency reported Tuesday.
Following the tentative deal, the two sides agreed that representatives of the Chinese company would return to the Tajik capital Dushanbe to familiarize themselves with the production lines of Tajikcement.
They will follow up that visit with a feasibility study on a procedure for switching the fuels.
Tajikcement produces 1.1 million tons of cement per year. Some of its output is used to build the massive Rogun hydropower plant, which Uzbekistan adamantly opposes.