Fast Company

Tajikistan's Energy Expansion Lures Canada and China

The country was already developing its hydropower resources when it stumbled upon enough gas to supply the country for the next 50 years. Now the energy dynamics of the region are entirely altered.

Tajikistan recently discovered 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas just 22 miles southwest of its capital, Dushanbe--enough to supply the country for the next 50 years--and that finding is now shaking up the region.

Tajikistan has long been dependent on imported gas from neighboring Uzbekistan and just this week Uzbekistan reduced gas exports to the country by 50% over an argument about payments. But with Tajikistan's new-found gas freedom, that reduction will have less political influence on the country.

Meanwhile Canada sees promise in Tajikistan in the world of hydropower--the Tajik government has been on a continual search for alternative energy sources, as Uzbekistan frequently hikes up its gas prices. The Canadian company Canog Energy Inc. will build one main hydropower plant on the Khingob River in the Rasht Valley and, later, three smaller power plants.

So while Tajikistan previously struggled with power issues--at times reaching only a few hours of electricity per day--the new-found gas supply is a temporary panacea for the country's energy woes, and will perhaps carry the government over until hydropower and other energy resources are more fully developed.

China, the world's leading consumer of energy, is ever-interested in Tajikistan's new discovery, as it is in the entire Central Asia region--including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.

[Image: flickr user Kevin Cure; Rotator image flickr user upyernoz]

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