Despite disagreements, Moscow still hopes for a Eurasian gas union
In recent days, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are again hotly discussing the possibility of creating a trilateral Eurasian gas union of three countries. The idea, proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is a consortium of states whose goal is to coordinate efforts to transport Russian gas through the territory of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. As you know, the former Soviet republics almost immediately and indignantly abandoned this idea, however, the onset of cold weather and an acute shortage of fuel forced Astana and Tashkent to return to discussing the project, especially since the Russian Federation did not withdraw the earlier proposal.
Moscow is well aware that even the very idea of such a union will cause a wave of concern among partners in Central Asia and in the international arena, therefore, at the official level, various explanations were given about the need for gas cooperation in the form of an association, thereby also emphasizing the relevance of the idea. Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak claimed that Uzbekistan had shown interest in the idea of an energy union.
While Tashkent and Astana look to the West to see what the cost of a beneficial partnership with Russia will be, Russia itself is facing particular financial and infrastructural challenges due to the sanctions regime. In particular, it will require the modernization of the gas transportation infrastructure and even the construction of new pipelines. In addition, it will be necessary to build a separate gas transmission system through the territory of Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, the cost of which is still unknown. The expected cost of developing domestic infrastructure in Russia to supply more gas to Central Asia is estimated to be around $4 billion.
As Western experts write, in an attempt to diversify the export markets for raw materials, Moscow will insist on creating an energy corridor to the East, which is an alternative to traditional supplies to the West. Now all hopes are connected with a sharp cooling and the fuel crisis caused by it. The frost is expected to bridge differences and make Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan more accommodating.
- Photos used: moldovagaz.md