Uzbekistan hit by interruptions in natural gas supply - Interfax
Jan 17 (Reuters) - Natural gas supplies in the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan are being interrupted because neighbouring Turkmenistan has suspended exports amid low temperatures, Interfax cited the Uzbek energy ministry as saying on Tuesday.
Uzbekistan has in turn halted electricity exports in order to guarantee energy resources on the domestic market, Interfax said. Uzbekistan is suffering from persistent energy shortages.
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Turkmenistan this week suspended all exports of natural gas to Uzbekistan and 20% of electricity exports because of extremely cold weather, the Uzbek ministry was quoted as saying.
"Although the throughput capacity of pipelines and main electric grids is enough to satisfy current maximum demand, there are problems providing energy resources to consumers due to a lack of resources," Interfax cited the ministry as saying.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev harshly criticized those responsible for the energy sector at a meeting on Monday and dismissed three senior officials, Interfax said.
Last month Uzbekistan signed a deal with Turkmenistan for an extra 1.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas for the winter season, an Uzbek source told Reuters.
Uzbekistan, which itself produces around 52 bcm of natural gas per year, has been importing around 15 million cubic metres of gas daily.
Cold snaps in early December forced Tashkent to shut most natural gas filling stations at night for vehicles, except for public transport, to direct it to households. (Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Mark Potter)