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Uzbekistan says gas exports to China plummet, halt to Russia

Uzbekistan says gas exports to China plummet, halt to Russia
Photo: TASS

The Uzbek president said Thursday that the Central Asian country's gas exports to China had fallen to a third of their previous levels, and stopped  completely to Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's comments at a government meeting, the UZA state news agency said Uzbekistan would be looking to diversify its gas sector after it was dealt a severe blow by the pandemic, causing an "unstable situation" for the commodity-rich country.

Uzbekistan exports around 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas to China annually. 

The country sold 4.9 bcm to Russian state energy giant Gazprom in 2019 according to Gazprom's annual report. 

Beijing's PetroChina, China's largest oil producer, reportedly issued a force majeure notice to a number of gas suppliers in March as a result of China's coronavirus battle, which sapped industrial demand. It said it lost $2.29 billion in the first quarter. 

It is not clear to what extent the pandemic has affected China's purchases of gas from another Central Asian country, Turkmenistan, which exports over 30 bcm annually to China.