Friday, May 18, 2012 -
Uzbekistan said Thursday it will begin providing gas supplies to a Central Asian pipeline to China by the end of this year.
The 1,250-mile Central Asian pipeline network starts in Turkmenistan and weaves through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to enter China at its northwestern Xinjiang region.
"We can start shipping our gas right now, but there are some legal issues which need to be settled," the Reuters news agency reported Tulagan Zhurayev, chief of Uzbek state-run gas transportation company Uzbektransgas, as saying.
"We plan this year to supply between 2 billion and 4 billion cubic meters [bcm]," he added.
Turkmenistan, the world’s fourth largest holder of natural gas, is currently the route’s only supplier for energy-hungry China. It planned to provide 9 bcm in 2012.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have both expressed their intentions to add supplies to the massive pipeline network, currently able to transport 30 bcm per year.
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), which is constructing the pipeline, is planning to double its capacity to 60 bcm by 2015 to keep pace with the country’s fast-growing demand.
China consumed 130 bcm of gas in 2010, while demand could double before the end of this decade, according to analysts.