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Uzbekistan’s significant hydrocarbon potential allows it to implement long-term projects. According to expert estimates, the country has one-third of all Central Asia’s mineral resources, and in terms of gas production it is among the world’s 20 leaders.

As of 1 January 2018, the State Mineral Balance of the Republic of Uzbekistan included 244 hydrocarbon deposits (oil, gas and condensate), 38 radioactive metal deposits, and seven coal and shale oil deposits.

According to the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources, explored reserves of oil and gas condensate contain 178.1 Mt; natural gas 2 239.9 bcm; and coal 1 950.1 Mt. In 2018, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) estimated Uzbekistan's oil reserves at 594 million barrels of natural gas and 1 564 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of natural gas (http://www.xn-----7kcbmkfaolw0acwp3ak9a0lg.xn--p1ai/zapasi-gaza-v-mire).

Hydrocarbon exploration and production will be expanded for further oil and gas industry development. To this end, work has intensified at the most promising sites in the Bukhara-Khiva, Ustyurt, Surkhandarya and Fergana regions. Exploration work is also being carried out jointly with the world's leading oil and gas companies on poorly studied investment blocks. Partners include Socar (Azerbaijan), British Petroleum (United Kingdom), Total (France), Lukoil, Gazprom and Tatneft (Russia), Mubadala (United Arab Emirates), and ONGC (India).

In response to growth in hydrocarbon consumption, industry investments of about USD 9.8 billion are planned for 2019-30, including USD 3.5 billion for geological prospecting and USD 6.3 billion to increase natural gas production (Ministry of Energy, https://minenergy.uz/ru/lists/view/28).

Coal production in Uzbekistan is carried out by Uzbekugol JSC at the Angren brown coal field, and Shargunkumir JSC mines the Shargun and Baisun underground deposits.

Uzbekistan’s shale oil reserves are estimated at 47 billion tonnes (Bt) at a depth of up to 600 m, at Baisun, Jam, Urtabulak, Sangrento, Aktau, Uchkir and Kulbeskan. The main shale oil deposits are in the Kyzylkum desert and in the Baisun mountains (Tashkent Institute of Chemical Technology, http://library.ziyonet.uz/ru/book/84797).

Uzbekistan also has significant uranium deposits and is seventh among the few countries in the world that produce it. Within the region, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia are the only other producers, with Kazakhstan being the largest producer in the world. Uzbekistan has 47 kt of uranium reserves and 74 kt of resources, with 121 kt of remaining potential. Its reserves account for 12.3% of the total of these four countries, and 2.2% of total reserves globally.

Energy security and diversification

In recent years, consistent work has been carried out on integrated fuel and energy industry development and energy source diversification to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy resources.

At the same time, however, inefficient geological explorations, investment projects and pricing have resulted in energy resource supply deficiencies and have worsened the financial situation of oil and gas enterprises.

Thus, with an 8% increase in natural gas production over the last 20 years, production by domestic enterprises fell 29%; confirmed natural gas reserves decreased 4% in 2008-18; and the average replacement rate for natural gas reserves in the past 5 years was about 70%.

Due to insufficient financing and a lack of material and technical resources, natural gas production growth in 2017-18 was only 42% of what had been predicted. Uzbekistan’s outdated and non-transparent management system (which combines regulatory functions and commercial activities) hinders the introduction of modern management of oil and gas enterprises, which would increase their financial stability and profitability (Presidential Decree No. PP-4388 of 9 July 2019, https://lex.uz/docs/4410281).

Calculations show that electricity consumption will double by 2030, which will require the commissioning of new TPPs with a total capacity of 7.9 GW over the next ten years.

Renewable energy produced mainly by HPPs currently accounts for slightly more than 10% of the country’s total electricity production. Despite their significant potential, RESs such as solar and wind power are not being fully exploited.

The government aims to: construct solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 8 GW by 2030; attract investors; and raise HPP capacity to 1 935 GW (https://stat.uz/ru/press-tsentr/novosti-uzbekistana/8251-obsuzhdeny-zadachi-po-razvitiyu-elektroenergetiki-v-2020-godu).

Oil and gas industry investment policy should aim to attract foreign investments in highly developed technologies to diversify the industry and ensure in-depth processing of oil and gas resources.

Energy infrastructure and investment

Uzbekistan fully meets its electricity and heat needs from its own energy resources. It also owns a significant part of the installed capacity of Central Asia’s unified energy system.

The Ministry of Energy centrally manages the technological process of electricity production, distribution and consumption through its Thermal Power Plants, National Electric Networks of Uzbekistan and Regional Electric Networks JSCs.

In 2018, the Thermal Power Plants JSC generated 56.3 billion kWh of electricity and supplied 7.5 million Gcal of thermal energy. The total installed capacity of TPPs in Uzbekistan is more than 14.1 GW with annual production of more than 70 billion kWh. 

Uzbekistan electrical and thermal energy production

Production

2017

2018

2019

Electricity (TWh)

60.3

62.9

63.5

Heat (PJ)

120.0

119.7

131.7

Source: State Statistics Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, https://stat.uz/ru.

Uzbekistan’s estimated generating capacity is currently 15.9 GW, with thermal power plants (TPPs) making up 88% or 14.0 GW, and hydropower plants (HPPs) making up the remaining 12% or 1.9 GW.

Installed capacity of power plants (MW)

 

2018

2019

Power plant type

Power plant capacity

Power plant capacity

The Republic of Uzbekistan

14 191.4

15 939.4

Thermal power plants (TPP) and Combined heat and power plants (CHP)

12 276.5

14 031.9

Hydropower plants (HPPs)

1 914.9

1 907.5

Source: State Statistics Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan http://web.stat.uz/open_data/ru/

The main source of generation is 11 TPPs, including 3 central heating and power plants. Modern, energy-efficient power units account for 2 825 MW, or 25.6% of total TPP capacity. In 2019, TPPs were responsible for 89.6% of total electricity generated and the total capacity of power units operating during the peak hours of a single electric power system was 8.6 GW.

Uzbekistan TPP electricity production, by plant

#

Plants

TPP electricity production

1

Syrdarya

21%

2

Navoi

17%

3

Talimarjan

16%

4

Novo Angren

15%

5

Tashkent

12%

6

Others

19%

Uzbekistan TPP heat production, by plant

#

Plants

TPP heat production

1

Fergana

24.1%

2

Navoi

22.7%

3

Muborak

19%

4

Tashkent

18.3%

5

Others

15.9%

Source: https://tpp.uz/rukovod.html.

The National Electric Networks of Uzbekistan JSC transmits electricity from the Thermal Power Plants JSC’s generating sources to the distribution and marketing enterprises of the Regional Electric Networks JSC via 35-kilovolt (kV) to 500-kV main networks, which include:

  • power stations – 77 units with a total capacity of 22 830 mega-volt amperes (MVA)
  • power lines – 9 768 km.

Electricity distribution and delivery to consumers within Uzbekistan is carried out through distribution networks of 0.4-110 kV, including:

  • power stations of 35-110 kV – 1 626 units with a total capacity of 20 421 MVA
  • power lines of 35-110 kV – 28 642 km
  • transformer stations – 75 534 units with a total capacity of 13 933 MVA
  • power lines of 0.4-10 kV – 223 987 km.

Most components of power grid facilities have a service life of more than 30 years, including 66% of main and 62% of distribution networks, 74% of substations and more than 50% of transformer stations. This is one of the reasons that electrical energy losses during transportation and distribution are increasing. Average technological losses in the main networks is 2.72%, and 12.47% is lost in the distribution networks.

Within the electricity networks of the territorial units, 14 distribution and sales enterprises operating as JSCs under the Regional Electric Networks JSC manage electricity sales. The enterprises’ balance sheets register more than 250 400 km of power transmission lines and 1 700 substations with a voltage of up to 110 kV inclusive.

Uzbekistan has adopted the Concept of Providing the Republic of Uzbekistan with Electricity for 2020-2030, which aims to:

  • Increase generating capacity from 12.9 GW to 29.3 GW by 2030.
  • Raise electricity production from 63.6 billion kWh to 120.8 billion kWh.
  • Reduce natural gas consumption from 16.5 bcm to 12.1 bcm.
  • Reduce electricity transmission losses to 2.35% and distribution losses to 6.5% (1.85 times less than the 2019 level).
  • Decommission 6.4 GW of morally and physically outdated power units at TPPs.

Uzbekistan is expected to implement major investment projects worth about USD 35 billion.

Measures in the heat and power industry will make it possible to ensure the introduction of modern energy production technologies based on highly efficient combined-cycle and gas turbine units, raising power unit efficiency to 60%.

Construction of the country's first NPP (2.4‑GW capacity) has begun.

As part of the transition to a “green” economy, installing modern solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 6.7 GW is a priority for electricity industry development.

To ensure electricity supply stability, it is also necessary to build 2 700 km of 220-500 kV transmission lines as well as nine new substations, which will require an investment of USD 2.4 billion.

Reconstruction and modernisation of 39 600 units of transformer substations and 140 900 km of transmission lines in 110/35/10/0.4 kV distribution networks is also required, at a cost of USD 9.9 billion.

New power plants with a total capacity of 15 GW are planned, to be financed solely through direct investments in the amount of USD 17.3 billion. All stations except the HPPs, the NPP and several regulatory power plants are to be built through direct investment.

New plants to be constructed include: a combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) in the Syrdarya region, to be built in two stages of 1 300 MW each; a 850‑MW CCPP unit in the Tashkent region, by the Turkish company Cengiz Enerji; a 900‑MW CCPP unit in the Surkhandarya region, by the Turkish company Yildirim Enerji; CCPP units 3 and 4 (650 MW each), to expand the Navoi TPP; and regulatory power plants based on combined-cycle and natural gas-piston engines.

Natural gas consumption is to fall from 16.5 bcm to 12.1 bcm, while coal combustion will increase from 4.1 Mt to 8.5 Mt annually.

Fuel

2019

2025

2030

Natural gas (mcm)

15.8

12.7

12.1

Coal (Mt)

3.6

8.5

8.5

Fuel oil (kt)

2 044

50

50

Uzbekistan’s district heating system was laid out in 1950-70 based on an open water intake scheme and dependent connections to buildings’ heating system networks. Such district heating systems, which are not expensive to install but costly to operate, are characterised by short operational lifetimes and excessive consumption of network water and thermal energy.

As a result of significant boiler equipment and network deterioration, Uzbekistan’s current heat supply system does not provide optimum loading of heat sources. This makes the work of heat supply companies more challenging and threatens the stability of continuous heat and hot water supplies for consumers (https://nuz.uz/ekonomika-i-finansy/22552-uzbekistan-vlozhit-v-razvitie-sistemy-teplosnabzheniya-17-trln-sumov.html). 

Uzbekhydroenergo JSC provides about 10% of Uzbekistan’s total electricity production. The hydropower sector is made up of 40 HPPs, both reservoir and run-of-river, with a total capacity of 1.91 GW. 

Mode of Operation

Number of Plants

Capacity (MW)

Run-of-river

30

512

Large

4

307

Mini

26

205

Reservoir

10

1400

Total

40

1912

Source: State Statistics Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan http://web.stat.uz/open_data/ru/

Uzbekistan’s hydropower potential is estimated at 27.5 billion kWh per year, and the utilisation factor for the country's hydropower potential is 27%.

Uzbekistan has 62 projects planned for 2020-30, including construction of 35 HPPs with total capacity of 1 537 MW and modernisation of 27 existing HPPs to raise capacity by 186 MW. Total HPP capacity is therefore expected to be 3 785 MW by 2030, with electricity generation of 13.1 billion kWh (2.2 times more than in 2019).

The oil and gas industry covers the entire chain of oil and gas operations, from geological exploration, oil and gas field development, drilling and production to hydrocarbon processing, petroleum product production, oil, gas and chemical equipment, and supplying petroleum products to consumers.

Roughly 30 industrial enterprises operate in Uzbekistan’s oil and gas industry, producing such products as motor gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, various types of oils, fuel oil, bitumen, polyethylene of various brands, natural gas and LNG, oil and gas chemical equipment, gas equipment, etc.

Uzbekistan’s oil and gas investment policy aims primarily to attract foreign investment in highly developed technologies to diversify the industry and ensure in-depth processing of oil and gas resources.

Strategic facilities such as the Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex, the Kandym Gas Processing Complex and a number of others have become operational in the past five years, and implementation of major strategic projects on deep hydrocarbon processing continues.

A synthetic liquid fuel production plant is planned to be commissioned in 2020. It will process 3.6 bcm of natural gas annually to produce 1.5 Mt of high-quality synthetic fuel complying with Euro-5 requirements.

Additionally, a new Concept for the Implementation of an Investment Project to Expand the Production Capacity of the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex has been developed. With implementation of this project, the polymer production plant’s capacity will increase from 125 kt to 500 kt (i.e. by four times), offering opportunities for further petrochemical industry development.

The Bukhara Oil Refinery Modernisation investment project is also to be implemented soon, which will ensure the production of high-quality oil products that meet Euro‑5 standards.

Uzbekistan has proven coal reserves of 1 537 Mt of brown coal and 45.9 Mt of stone coal, and total forecast resources amount to more than 5.7 Bt.

Coal production in Uzbekistan is carried out by the Uzbekugol, Shargunkumir and Apartak JSCs. Uzbekugol extracts the coal and supplies it to consumers through its seven coalmining and auxiliary branches: the Angren mine, the geological prospecting expedition branch, the RGTO repair plant for mining and mining equipment, Kumirkurilish, Kumirenergo, Belazkumir and Alokakumir.

Uzbekugol produces up to 4.5 Mt of coal annually. The main consumer of coal fuel is the electricity sector, which accounts for more than 85% of total coal consumption. Solid coal fuel is also used by industries and in social and communal buildings, and by the general population.

In accordance with the 19 July 2018 Presidential Decree on Measures for the Development of Nuclear Energy in the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Agency for the Development of Nuclear Energy (Uzatom Agency) was established, its main tasks and activities being:

  • Preparing proposals on state policy priorities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the development of legal and regulatory instruments.
  • Developing and implementing state programmes to develop nuclear energy in Uzbekistan, and attracting investment, including foreign investment, to implement nuclear energy projects.
  • Concluding agreements and contracts for designing, constructing and operating nuclear power facilities with modern technologies and equipment that meet international industrial and environmental safety requirements.
  • International co‑operation and collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Atomic Energy Community and other international organisations.

More than 80 highly qualified specialists, including foreign ones, are currently working in the Uzatom Agency system. To implement Uzbekistan’s NPP project, the NPP Construction Directorate was established under the Uzatom Agency.

On 7 September 2018, the governments of Uzbekistan and Russia signed an agreement to co‑operatively construct an NPP in Uzbekistan. The document provides for the construction of a 2 400‑MW Generation III+ NPP with two VVER-1200 light-water power reactors. The site selected is near the Lake Tuzkan Aidar-Arnasai system of lakes.

In accordance with Presidential Decree No. PP-4165 of 7 February 2019, the Concept for the Development of Nuclear Power in Uzbekistan for 2019-2029 and the roadmap for its implementation were approved. Law No. ZRU-565 of 9 September 2019 on the Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes was also adopted.

Emergency response

Uzbekistan is earthquake-prone, with earthquakes in the eight- to ten-point range occurring relatively frequently; it ranks 24th on the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery’s list of hotspot countries. As the country is energy self-sufficient and supply shock risks are low, the highest emergency risk is natural disaster.

Uzbekistan’s state system for warning and action in emergency situations is the State Emergency Service (SES). Its main tasks are to: collect, process, exchange and issue information to protect the population and territories from emergency situations; prepare the population, officials of governing bodies, the military and the SES itself for emergency response; create reserves of financial and material resources for emergency response; respond to emergencies; implement measures for the social protection of citizens affected by emergencies; co‑operate internationally to protect the population and territories from emergency situations; and provide an optimal insurance system against potential emergencies.