China Issues FM on Central Asian Pipeline Gas
Two former Soviet central Asian republics Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan say their exports to China have shrunk owing to a claim of force majeure (FM) issued by state PetroChina. It blamed the arrival of warmer weather and the impact of Covid-19 on its demand, although the first of these at least is not covered by usual FM clauses.
Uztransgaz CEO Ulugbek Sayidov said March 10 that deliveries were down, but he did not say by how much; while the Kazakh energy minister Nurlan Nogayev said March 11 that gas exports to China were down 20-25% and oil exports had been suspended since mid-January.
Last year, over 47.9bn m3 of central Asian gas went to China via the Central Asia-China (CAC) gas pipeline, about 0.9% more than in 2018, according to the PetroChina West Pipeline Company. The growth level in 2019 was much lower than 2018, which was 23.08% more than 2017.
Last year China imported 7.5bn m3 of Kazakh gas and 4bn m3 of Uzbek gas, the rest coming from Turkmenistan. China started central Asian gas imports in December 2009 and as of December 2019, it received 294.6bn m3 via CAC.
Nogayev said Kazakhstan’s overall gas exports were unchanged, which means Russia has increased its Kazakh gas intake. The situation around Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is not clear yet, but both of them export gas to Russia as well.