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Uzbek President Orders Cut In Gas Exports As Winter Shortage Threatens

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev

TASHKENT -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has ordered his government to cut natural-gas exports to ensure the availability of gas at home in Central Asia's most populous nation this winter.

Mirziyoev publicly laid into the government during an online government session on December 16 for what he called "failure to properly prepare for winter season" and said there was currently a domestic shortfall of 20 million cubic meters of gas a day.

"We all know that problems with natural gas are not just happening today but have been bothering us for 30 years now," Mirziyoev said. "But no one has the right to make excuses. Our people need gas, and many of them are paying for it honestly and on time."

The move could reportedly translate into 7-8 million cubic meters of natural gas for Uzbek citizens this winter.

Officials were also tasked with transferring into investors' control some 25 natural-gas fields in the country and buying an additional 217,000 tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

This year has been unusually cold in Uzbekistan, and power outages have been reported across the country.