Uzbekistan will cut natural gas exports because of domestic energy shortages, the Minister of energy of Uzbekistan, Alisher Sutlonov said today.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ordered some export shipments to be diverted to domestic consumers late on Wednesday, and his office said the decision would add 7-8 million cubic meters a day to domestic supply.

The Ministry of Energy says the exact details of export adjustments are yet to be determined.

According to some sources, Uzbekistan plans to produce 51 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year and usually exports 13-15 billion cubic meters annually.

Last year, more than half of its export volumes reportedly went to China with the remainder split between Russia, Kazakhstan and other Central Asia’s nations.

This year, however, exports to China fell sharply due to economic disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, and shipments to Russia were suspended altogether with no subsequent reports of their resumption, Reuters says.

Still, many Uzbek households have faced gas and power shortages over the past few weeks and public discontent drew the attention of Mirziyoyev who ordered domestic supplies to be prioritized over exports.