Russia has suffered several setbacks in its ongoing efforts to secure its energy dominance in Central Asia. Uzbekistan plans to build a 530-km natural gas pipeline to China.
The route would have a capacity of 30 Bcm a year, an amount constituting roughly half of the Central Asian state’s annual gas production. If implemented, Uzbekistan would stoke energy competition between Russia and China, and presumably would secure for itself higher profits. It would also undermine Russia’s ability to manipulate Central Asia’s gas market.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has broken Russia’s stranglehold on its gas exports by opening a pipeline through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China.
Earlier, a short pipeline was opened to increase exports to Iran, and gas is in the process of being identified for eventual export to Europe via a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and the EU’s Southern Corridor.