May 15, 2019 / 1:05 PM / a year ago

Uzbekistan eyes $2 bln in energy sector borrowing in 2020

TASHKENT, May 15 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan plans to borrow up to $2 billion next year to develop its energy sector, officials said on Wednesday, with half of it coming from a Eurobond and the other half from an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.

The former Soviet republic has significant hydrocarbon resources and exports natural gas to Russia and China.

Uzbek state energy firm Uzbekneftegaz, which plans to issue the Eurobond, has yet to pick banks for it, hief executive Bakhodirjon Sidikov told reporters at an energy conference in Tashkent.

“I think we will be ready in the middle of the next year,” he said.

Separately, Ashok Bhargava, director of the energy division in the East Asia Department of the ADB, said the lender was in talks with the Uzbek government about a $1 billion loan that would help modernise its gas pipeline network.

“Around 20 percent of gas is lost in the system,” he told Reuters.

“If we can bring it (losses) down to the international level, Uzbekistan would be able to double gas exports.”

The Central Asian nation produces about 60 billion cubic metres of gas a year. It has not disclosed export figures in recent years. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov, editing by Louise Heavens)

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