DUSHANBE, Aril 8, 2011, Asia-Plus - Minister of Energy and Industries Gul Sherali told reporters yesterday that Tajikistan is currently conducting negotiations with Uzbekistan over cutting natural gas price.

According to him, the Tojiktransgaz (Tajik natural-gas distributor) head Saidmahmad Sharofiddinov is currently in Tashkent to discuss this issue with Uzbek counterparts.

Gul Sherali noted that Uzbek natural gas was now supplied only to the Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) and Tojikcement (Dushanbe cement plant).  “Until recently, the population has also received Uzbek natural gas, but because of high prices residential customers have refused it,” the minister stressed.

We will recall that Uzbekistan has raised nature-gas prices for Tajikistan for the second quarter of 2011.  Tajikistan now buys natural gas from Uzbekistan at the rate of US$240.00 per 1,000 cubic meters, while the price for the first quarter was US$227.85.  The gas prices vary quarterly depending on the world trends.

“We must increase volumes of domestic natural gas productions,” said Gul Sherali, “But this takes time, because hydrocarbon deposits in Tajikistan occur at depths ranging from 5 to 7 kilometers.”

He noted that the work on exploration and development of domestic natural gas deposits was carried out according to schedule.

“Subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom launched drilling operation in Shahrinav district at the end of last year and Tethys Petroleum Tajikistan will launch drilling operations in southern Tajikistan this year,” said the minister, “Somon Oil will launch drilling operations in the northern Sughd province at the end of this year.”