ALMATY - Tuesday, August 14, 2012 -
Until recently, a solution for the future of economic sustainability in Tajikistan was thought to be dependent on Rogun hydropower plant. However, future of the power plant is still challenged by Uzbekistan’s claim that it will reduce water in this country. The World Bank has not yet confirmed its support in the construction of the power plant. The Tajik government is looking for other investors to proceed with construction of Rogun. The project is crucial for the country where due to an energy deficit, population receives only 2-3 hours of electricity daily.
But the energy agenda of Tajikistan is changing. According to the update announced by Canadian Tethys Petroleum, the current estimates in Bokhtar account to 8.5 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves of 114 trillion cubic feet.
Previously, Tajikistan was known to have 12 million barrels of oil reserves. Discovery of more oil, which surpasses oil reserves of Norway, puts Tajikistan atop of Kazakhstan which has so far been a leading country in Central Asia in regards to hydrocarbon reserves.
Bokhtar reserves could change the energy and economic policies of Tajikistan. However there is uncertainty in developing Tajikistan’s oil sector due to current security challenges. Besides the violence that occurred in the south of the republic in July, the location of Bokhtar in the Amu-Darya basin is shared by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, making this another factor to add to possible difficulties for further development. Apart from the announcement of untapped oil wealth by Tethys Petroleum, the Tajik government has not yet confirmed the findings.
Tajikistan’s economy has been dependent on exports of cotton and aluminum as well as the international humanitarian assistance. Along with Kyrgyzstan, the country has been considered as one of the poorest in Central Asia. Tajikistan has close ties with Russia and China as well as other regional states who are interested in importing energy from Central Asia, and can benefit immensely from the exports.
(This article was first published by The Journal of Turkish Weekly. See original article at http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/140405/tajikistan-a-new-energy-actor.html)