Kyrgyzstan strives to resolve energy deficit

Kyrgyzgaz CEO Salamat Aytikeev said on Oct. 7 that he plans to ask Uzbekistan to accept a partial repayment of his country’s natural gas debts, and resume the supply of gas to Kyrgyzstan.

Masud Ali-Uulu

2009-10-13

KYRGYZSTAN — Kyrgyzgaz CEO Salamat Aytikeev said on Oct. 7 that he plans to ask Uzbekistan to accept a partial repayment of his country’s natural gas debts, and resume the supply of gas to areas of Kyrgyzstan that have been cut off since the end of September. The debts total US$19 million, and Tashkent has insisted on repayment in full.

On Oct. 5, Aytikeev told journalists that talks aimed at restoring the supply of natural gas had failed. Two days later, however, Bishkek hoped it could appease its neighbour by offering to pay a quarter of the debt.

The Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan also announced that his country only needed half of the 650 million cubic metres of natural gas it had originally planned to acquire from Uzbekistan over the year, because numerous consumers switched to other forms of fuel.

There was also some good news for Kyrgyzstan when Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov visited Bishkek on Oct. 7. He confirmed the terms of an energy agreement reached by both countries on Oct. 3, during the Summit of Heads of Turkic-speaking States, which will make things easier in Kyrgyzstan this winter. The country was plunged into darkness last year.

The agreement will supply coal from Kazakhstan to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the thermal power plant in Bishkek. “I think there will be no problem regarding the supply of fuel to Bishkek this year,” Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov emphasised.

“The main issues for our two countries are water and energy cooperation, and preparations for the winter,” Karim Masimov said. “We have come to an agreement in principle on the operation of our energy supply systems, which takes into account Uzbekistan’s possible exit from the joint energy supply system. The arrangement we have agreed on with Kazakhstan will enable us to get through the winter painlessly.”

[KT.kz, Ferghana.ru, CA-News.org, 24.kg]

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