Q: The oil and gas market has been on a roller coaster since the beginning of the crisis. What are the prospects for its development in Uzbekistan at the moment?
A: The oil and gas industry is an important part of Uzbekistan’s energy industry and will remain so. Exploration and production are becoming more efficient and modern as the country attracts international investment capital and new technologies. This process will continue.
In line with international trends, Uzbekistan’s energy industry is also becoming more diverse, and we are seeing more alternative energy technologies. Oil and gas will always play a role, as will other sources of energy.
Q: How did your companies, Eriell and Enter Engineering (EE), adapt their strategy to the new market conditions?
A: Eriell and Enter Engineering are closely monitoring the current situation and are conducting activities to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in all regions where they are active.
Employee safety and health are a key value for both companies, which is why they not only follow the recommendations of the ministry of health and World Health Organization, but have also introduced increased preventive measures to avoid the spread of coronavirus infection to the production sites and offices of the companies.
With regards to falling oil prices, we are actively watching the major global players in the energy industry, constantly monitoring the announced tenders, as we see the potential for entering the global market where, despite the volatility of prices and the deterioration of profit expectations, capital expenditure forecasts remain largely unaffected and projects continue to be implemented.
Q: Can you give us an update on the gas-to-liquid (GTL) Oltin Yo’l project in Uzbekistan?
A: The Oltin Yo’l GTL project is a $3.6bn plant, in the south-west of Uzbekistan in the Kashkadarya region, for the production of synthetic liquid fuel. Its raw material base will be purified methane produced by the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex (SGCC).
EE is working as an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, and the cost of EPC works is $1.3bn. Today, the facility is more than half built and the plant is expected to be completed by December 2020.
The plant will produce more than 1.5m tonnes per year of high-quality synthetic liquid fuel, under the brand name Oltin Yo'l GTL.
The construction of these two plants [Oltin Yo’l GTL and the SGCC] will create new hi-tech production facilities in Uzbekistan, which will enable them to achieve a deeper level of hydrocarbon processing and fully comply with the country’s policy of maximising the use of natural resources and creating a value chain.
Q: How would you rate the current business environment in Uzbekistan?
A: Uzbekistan is now implementing large-scale reforms covering all spheres of public and commercial life and is pursuing a consistent strategy of attracting investment, creating new industrial enterprises and infrastructure, implementing fundamental banking and tax reforms, and ensuring social development.
It is impossible to predict how much the pandemic will slow down the world economy, but as part of that economy, Uzbekistan will of course be influenced to some extent.
Like everyone else, we are doing our best to win the battle against coronavirus, and to continue our work and projects.