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Kyrgyz capital without gas at 20 below zero

17 december 2012, 17:55
0
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Kyrgyzstan Minister of Energy and Industry Avtandil Kalmanbetov. Photo courtesy of energo.gov.kg
Kyrgyzstan Minister of Energy and Industry Avtandil Kalmanbetov. Photo courtesy of energo.gov.kg
Residents of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek have no gas to heat their homes amid arctic temperatures, AFP reports citing the authorities.

Some districts also lack electric power at a time when the mercury has dipped to minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), they said.

Gas supplies have been cut off from neighboring Kazakhstan, which relies on deliveries from another central Asian neighbor, Uzbekistan, itself unable to extract the fuel because of the freezing weather.

Lacking gas, Bishkek residents have begun using more electricity, which has led to outages in parts of the city, authorities said.

Weather forecasters warn that temperatures could drop to -24 Celsius (-11 Fahrenheit) in the region.

Deputies of Kyrgyzstan Parliament are going to demand dismissal of the country’s Minister of Energy and Industry Avtandil Kalmanbetov because of the gas collapse, Tengrinews.kz reports citing deputy of Ata Meken party Saidulla Nyshanov as saying at the meeting of the Parliament’s commission on agrarian policy, water resources, ecology and regional development.

According to the MP, half of Bishkek citizens have no electricity and 90 percent of them have no gas now. “Energy Minister Avtandil Kalmambetov has to bear responsibility for that. We have to demand his dismissal today. Prime-Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev has to fire him immediately,” Nyshanov said.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan Prime-Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev said at the press-conference timed to 100 days of the Parliament’s work that the gas issue will be solved within one week. He advised the owners of private houses to stock up coal and firewood. Kyrgyzstan Vice-PM Taiyrbek Sarpashev is getting ready for an urgent business trip to Astana to resolve the gas supplies issue.

KazTransGas decreased gas supplies to north Kyrgyzstan because of an abnormal temperature drop, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports citing the company.

“KazTransGas has notified Kyrgyz colleagues on the limited natural gas resources and possible supplies decrease numerous times. In relation to the abnormal drop of outside temperature and limited supplies of Uzbek gas, as well as because of increased gas consumption in South Kazakhstan, KazTransGas has partially limited gas supplies to KyrgyzGas,” the company’s message states.

According to the company, KazTransGas continues natural gas supplies to north Kyrgyzstan in line with the sales contract, despite of the total debt of Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan that amounts to $26.6 million.

Earlier Tengrinews.kz English reported that Kyrgyzstan owed Kazakhstan $31.2 million for natural gas.

According to the company’s press-service, KyrgyzGas was finding it hard to collect the debts from its domestic users of gas. “The industrial companies owe 111.2 million soms ($2.3 million), budget-funded companies owe 220.6 million ($4.6 million) and the population owes 90.7 million soms ($1.9 million). Major debtors include Kant Cement Factory, Kadamdzhai Stibial Plant, Mailuu-Syy Electric Lamps Plant, BishkekTeploEnergo, KyrgyzZhilKommunSoyuz,” the company states.

In May KyrgyzGas paid off part of its debt to KazTransGas for gas supplies in the amount of $2.5 million. Later KazTransGas prolonged the contract to supply 70 million cubic meters of gas at $224 per one thousand cubic meters. The existing gas supply contract between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan expired on May 1, 2012.

In November 2012 KyrgyzGas reached an agreement with UzTransGas (Uzbekistan) on supplies of Uzbek gas to north Kyrgyzstan starting from December 1. In the first decade of December Uzbek party limited gas supplies to Kyrgyzstan because of the temperature lowering and increased local consumption. On December 13, 2012 the company sent a notification on full termination of gas supplies.

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