They quote unidentified officials with Uzbekneftegaz, the national oil and gas company, as saying the government may soon charge foreign customers between $100 and $120 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, up from a current $55-60.
The officials reportedly said the adjustment to world prices would help Uzbekistan join international projects to export Central Asian gas to Europe.
Uzbekistan ships gas to Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
Earlier this month, Uzbekistan suspended its gas exports to Tajikistan over a debt dispute, saying that Dushanbe owes Tashkent $7.3 million for previous deliveries.
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Russia's rising appetite for Central Asian gas is a direct result of the shifting fortunes of Gazprom, the state-run Russian company that controls lucrative exports. The company's total gas production has flatlined at around 550 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year. With major fields yielding less as they age, Gazprom has chosen to maintain its all-important gas balance by purchasing gas on the side -- from independent producers in Russia and from Russia's Central Asian neighbors -- instead of investing in the lengthy and costly development of untapped Arctic fields...(more)