Uzbekistan pledges gas to Gazprom

Jan. 23, 2009 at 12:14 PM

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Uzbekistan is prepared to sell 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Russia in 2009, President Islam Karimov said during a meeting with Russian officials.

Karimov told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Friday his country would offer Russian gas monopoly Gazprom an initial volume of 565 billion cubic feet per year, "but we are ready to provide more," RIA Novosti reported Friday.

Medvedev arrived in Uzbekistan Thursday to discuss bilateral relations in the energy sector.

Gazprom, along with LUKoil, Russia's private oil and gas company, is active in energy-rich Uzbekistan.

"Considering LUKoil has been granted permission to increase gas production in this country, we can supply another (530 billion cubic feet) of gas," the Uzbek president said.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller called Uzbekistan a "very important" partner for energy transits, adding the country is a potential host for future gas pipelines from Russia.

Karimov said his country would sell gas exclusively to Russia, "while it is entirely up to Russia what to do with it next."

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