The coronavirus continues its march around the world at a fast pace, destabilizing the already unstable global economy and hitting its most “volatile” spot – the hydrocarbon market.
The entire transport systems are being paralyzed, currencies are collapsing. Delicately backed up OPEC+ commitments on oil production cut have been crashed like a house of cards.
The news feeds have been flashed with the reports that the largest Chinese gas importer, PetroChina, had announced force majeure to LNG and pipeline gas suppliers. The news outlets said the supplies have been reduced for an indefinite period due to the coronavirus. The gas export operators from Central Asian countries – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan – also received notifications.
Uzbekistan has already confirmed this information. Chairman of the Board of Uztransgaz Ulugbek Sayidov in an interview with local newspaper Gazeta.uz said that “in connection with the announcement of the coronavirus quarantine, China has temporarily reduced the intake of natural gas, including Uzbek gas, this leads to a decrease in the volume of natural gas export.”
However, Uzbekistan does not despair of this situation. It’s time to actively build up the capacity of the gas chemical industry, since polymer products are much more expensive than raw gas.
“From the point of view of logistics, the exported pipeline gas cannot be redirected in another direction, and polymer products can be exported to other countries via road, railway and air transport. In terms of transportation flexibility, this is the best option for monetizing gas,” the CEO of Uztransgaz added.
Kazakhstani exporter KazTransGas negotiates with PetroChina further gas supplies. “At the moment, the export of Kazakh gas to China is carried out in the agreed volumes,” Reuters reports with reference to the Kazakh supplier.
Meanwhile, it became known that in the second half of March, Russian gas supplies via the Power of Siberia will be suspended for some time due to preventive works.
The Power of Siberia gas pipeline was put into operation three months ago. Gazprom reported that the parties agreed to fulfill routine maintenance of the pipeline equipment and systems twice a year: in the spring and autumn.” And even if the coronavirus is not mentioned in this case, but still the repair works is very timely, given the demand decline in China.
At the end of January, Gazprom assured that the situation with coronavirus in China did not affect gas exports via the Power of Siberia. /// nCa, 12 March 2020