• 4 hours EIA Weekly Inventory Data Due Wednesday, Despite Govt. Shutdown
  • 8 hours Oklahoma Rig Explodes, Leaving Five Missing
  • 10 hours Lloyd’s Sees No Room For Coal In New Investment Strategy
  • 13 hours Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Oil Workers In Oil-Rich Delta Area
  • 15 hours Libya’s NOC Restarts Oil Fields
  • 16 hours US Orion To Develop Gas Field In Iraq
  • 3 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 3 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 3 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 4 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 4 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 4 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 4 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 4 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 4 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 5 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 5 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 6 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 6 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 6 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 6 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 6 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 6 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 6 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 7 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 7 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 7 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 7 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 7 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 7 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
Alt Text

Canada Aims To Solve U.S. Nuclear Woes

Canada is bidding to replace…

Alt Text

The Mysterious Company Behind Kyrgyzstan's Hydro Disaster

Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower drama has reached…

Tajikistan - The Future is Hydroelectricity - or Perhaps Not

Tajikistan - The Future is Hydroelectricity - or Perhaps Not

Pity poor Tajikistan.

The poorest of the former Soviet republics, after the 1991 implosion of the USSR Tajikistan slid the following year into a violent civil war, which saw Muslim fundamentalists battling the government. The conflict lasted five years and cost 50,000 dead. When the smoke cleared, what little was left of the Soviet infrastructure lay largely in shambles.

Since 1997 the government has attempted to improve the economy, but its marginal industrial base combined with rampant corruption has left the nation largely devoid of foreign direct investment, which in the last two decades has barely topped $1 billion, In contrast, Kazakhstan has received more than $120 billion and neighboring Uzbekistan, $50 billion.

Last year Tajikistan’s GDP was estimated at a modest $6.831 billion, with average wages pegged at a princely $879 per year.

So, what can Tajikistan bring to the international market?

Dushanbe’s government has decided that the answer is simple – hydroelectric power, generated by the country’s alpine lakes and rivers. The Tajik government dreams of a day not far off when its hydroelectric facilities not only meet domestic demand but will allow the nation to export electricity to neighboring energy-poor Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There is only one modest caveat to this rosy picture, in order to do so Tajikistan must complete several leftover Soviet-era hydroelectric projects, which makes downstream neighbors Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan all nervous, as they rely on regular discharges of water not only from Tajikistan but Kyrgyzstan as well to irrigate their crops.

The crown jewel of the Tajik government’s plans is to be the 3,600 megawatt Rogun dam, first proposed in 1959. Last year in an official address to the nation Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon announced that 2010 will be the year “when great resources will be mobilized” to build the Rogun dam, telling his enthralled countrymen, “The construction of this site, important for our country, has turned into the arena of labor, bravery and generosity, trials of heroism, and, more so, our national idea.”  Tajik hopes were raised when in 2004 then Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged a preferential $2 billion loan to complete the construction of the Rogun power station. Unfortunately, the check was not in the mail, and Dushanbe has struggled ever since to secure funding.

The good news for the Tajik government is that it has been more successful in its construction efforts with the Sangtuda-2 220 megawatt hydroelectric cascade, scheduled to come online by the end of the year. Tajik Ministry of Energy and Industry, Makhmadamin Safarkholov judges Sangtuda to be now 94 percent complete.

The bad news is that Iranian interests will own Sangtuda-2 for the first 12 ½ years of its operation, a not unreasonable arrangement given that they funded the bulk of its construction, but still a blow to Tajik pride. When construction of Sangtuda-2 recommenced in 2006 Iran allocated $180 million and Iran’s Sangob company sweetened the deal with another $36 million.

The Tajik government’s input? A relatively modest $40 million.

A potential fly in the ointment for Tajik consumers under the arrangement is that no one knows at what price and on what terms the electricity generated by the plant is to be sold, and neither Ministry of Energy officials nor state energy distribution company Barq-i Tojik bureaucrats have been able to provide concrete data.

The lesson of all this seems to be that, in Tajikistan’s case, small is beautiful as regards power stations, even though they are far less prestigious. Since 1991, 249 small power plants have been built in Tajikistan, with another nine small power plants expected to be commissioned by the end of the year, In addition, 190 small hydroelectric power stations are scheduled to be built by 2020.

However, once again descending into the murkiness of Tajik statistics, according to Barq-i Tojik chairman Nozirzhon Yodgori the government does not yet know how much electricity they will be able to generate, because they are not part of the Barq-i Tojik system, but work independently, with estimates of the various facilities’ generation output ranging from 30 kilowatt hours to 40,000 kilowatt hours.

So, what does the future hold for Tajikistan and its dreams of electricity exports? The immense Rogun project, while very prestigious, is hobbled by a lack of funding and carries in its wake increased strife with Tajikistan’s neighbors.

Larger, free-flowing hydroelectric stations have the benefit of lower costs and not increasing regional tensions, even if they are less prestigious.

Tajikistan’s current economic situation is so dire that nearly one-third of adult males live in other Commonwealth of Independent States nations to work – no doubt they would like to think that that the remittances they send back home would allow their families to have electricity 24/7. After all, you can’t read by prestige after the sun goes down. The question is whether any of the apparatchiks in Dushanbe are listening.

By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Student on July 20 2012 said:
    Mr: John Daly,

    To start with, there are certain public media rules when it comes writing an article, personal or imaginary bullish arguments,book or analytical report.
    Firstly,Tajikistan is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world. It has higher than world average real economic growth and it continues focusing on building infrastructure,investment climate and preconditions for future socio-economic development. However, Mr. Daly Tajikistan population is more literate than those in USA. This creates an opportunity of effectively using human capital and become on the most highly-developed nations in the world.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News