Expert: SCO’s Energy club will become the OPEC alternative
Deputy technical engineer of the Open Stock Holding Company Barki Tojik (Tajik electric power) Rashid Gulov told REGNUM correspondent that the idea of creating the SCO’s Energy club is beneficial for Tajikistan’s economic interests. He said that the SCO member countries, particularly, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan possess vast energy resources and hydrocarbon fuel. On the other hand, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have immense hydroelectric energy resources that, if they are jointly explored and rationally used, could tangibly improve the energy security of all the countries in the region. If all the SCO member countries and those who are willing to join it Iran, Pakistan, and India join their efforts to create the SCO Energy Commonwealth, this could become the world’s most powerful energy alliance. And this commonwealth most likely may be regarded as an alternative to OPEC, Gulov suggested.
Gulov also said that the energy body of SCO should, first of all, solve the issues of effective use of energy resources possessed by its member countries. Today, each of the countries has its own energy policy, lacks basic energy saving policy, lacks a rational approach to natural gas and oil production, without giving a thought to the fact that in 10-15 years, these resources will be used up. If we had a visibly acting energy union, then we could raise the issue of why we have to burn so much of natural gas to produce electric energy if we have huge renewable energy sources in the neighboring Tajikistan. Both countries could build tens of large water power plants on Tajikistan’s territory. In this case, Uzbekistan could use natural gas for imports, to boost chemical industry output, and so forth.
Russia, China, and Kazakhstan have already started to work on the problem, Gulov said. Russia intends to finish the Rogun and Sangutdin hydroelectric power plants construction; China is interested in building both power transmission lines and water power plants as such in Tajikistan; Kazakhstan has an immense interest to build 2nd and 3d construction stages of the Rogun water power plant and a hydroelectric power station cascade on the Zerafshan River. Besides, Kazakhstan is regarding the possibility of building a power transmission line from the city of Khujand in the north of Tajikistan to Chimkent in Kazakhstan’s south. Deficit of electric power in Kazakhstan, especially in the south of the country, will amount to around 40bn kW/h, and the country’s government is analyzing options of exporting Tajik electric power, Gulov said.
The expert also reminded that Afghanistan’s recovery is in many respects dependant on Tajik electric power. He said that the western sponsors of rehabilitation of the country who are also interested in it are ready to allocate funds for the construction of a number of large water power plants on Tajikistan’s territory. China and Pakistan are also interested in buying our electric power.
Speaking on oil and natural gas reserves in Tajikistan, Gulov mentioned that the US specialists have recently discovered a huge oil and natural gas field in the north of Afghanistan, on some estimates, the largest in the world. The Afghanistan’s north is also Tajikistan’s south. That is why the head of Gazprom arrived to Tajikistan right after the news was made public, and a new joint enterprise for the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in our country is being established. That is why I dare to assure you that Tajikistan will not have the observer status in the SCO Energy club; our country is gradually becoming a large exporter of energy resources in the region. Because only the proved volume of renewable hydroelectric energy resources in our country amount to 527bn kW/h, Gulov said to REGNUM correspondent.
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