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BISHKEK (TCA) — Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has agreed with Uzbekistan to resume Uzbek natural gas supplies to the south of Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz media reported. The supplies were stopped by Uzbekistan on April 14, 2014, and the south of Kyrgyzstan stayed without natural gas during 8.5 months.

Tahir Alimov, the deputy director of the Osh branch of Gazprom Kyrgyzstan, was quoted as saying that Uzbekistan resumed gas supplies to Kyrgyzstan’s southern Osh province on December 30.

Gazprom Kyrgyzstan said in a statement that under the contract with Uzbekistan, natural gas supplies to southern Kyrgyzstan will amount to up to 100 million cubic meters. Tariffs for natural gas in the region will remain the same as in the northern part of the country.

It is unclear what prompted Uzbekistan to resume gas supplies to its eastern neighbor.

Uzbekistan suspended gas supplies on April 14 when the contract with Kyrgyzstan expired. That happened soon after Kyrgyzstan officially sold its state gas company Kyrgyzgaz to Russia's Gazprom for a symbolic $1 and promises from the Russian company to overhaul Kyrgyzstan's gas infrastructure.

During his visit to Bishkek in September, Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller said that his company was ready to start construction of a natural gas pipeline connecting the North and South of Kyrgyzstan.  

“Construction of the gas pipeline will solve the issue of provision of the south of Kyrgyzstan with gas in the long-term perspective. The project’s approximate cost has already been determined, and the timeframe depends on decision-making. The start of the project depends on the decision of the Kyrgyz side. If the principal decision has been made, Gazprom is ready to fund construction,” Miller said.     

Miller said that the pipeline’s length would be about 600 kilometers, the pipe’s diameters 500 mm, and the throughput capacity – 240 million cubic meters per year.

In 2007 Gazprom and the Kyrgyz Republic Government signed the Agreement on the common principles for the geological survey of subsurface resources. Under the document, Gazprom obtained two subsurface use licenses for the Kugart and Eastern Mailu-Suu IV blocks in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan's proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 6 billion cubic meters. The domestic gas production averages 20 million cubic meters per annum. Gas consumption makes up some 300 million cubic meters per annum, 90 per cent of which is imported from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

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