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Drilling on plateau

Uzbekistan (the Republic of Uzbekistan) in Central Asia is land-locked and borders Kazakhstan (west and north), Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (east), and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan (south).

Iranian nomads, living in the region from before 2000 BC, created city states such as Bukhara and Samarkand within Persian Transoxiana. By 500 BC these had become centres of trade along the Silk Road.

The Greco-Bactrian Empire took over in 327 BC, which was over-run by the Chinese Kushan Empire in 30 AD and then a series of Persian, Turkic and Arab Empires.

The Mongols arrived in 1207, becoming the Chagatai Khanate in 1259. The Timurids emerged  as a regional force in 1370, ruling from Samarkand until the 16th century when Uzbek tribes invaded and the Khanates of Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand were established.

In the 19th century, Russia’s Empire began to spread into Central Asia gradually incorporating Uzbek territory. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, despite early resistance, it became the Uzbek SSR in 1924.

In 1991, following breakup of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan declared independence and since then has been ruled as an authoritarian state. Uzbekistan's economy relies on cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. It has not yet become a market economy.

One of only 2 doubly land-locked countries (i.e. surrounded by land-locked countries, the other being Liechtenstein), Uzbekistan is a dry, desert territory with less than 10% of its area cultivated river valleys and oases.

The rest of the country comprises the Kyzylkum (Red Sand) desert with mountains in the southeast. The highest point is the Khazret Sultan, at 4,643m in the south of the Gissar Range on the border with Tajikistan.

The country contains a series of endorheic basins in which none of the rivers lead to the open sea. The Aral Sea, on the northwest shared with Kazakhstan, used to be a large inland sea but since the 1960s has dramatically decreased in size due to unfettered water extraction.

Uzbekistan began producing oil from the Fergana Basin in the extreme east in 1943. Oil production then began from the Amu Darya basin in 1953 along the Turkmenistan and Afghanistan borders. However, this basin is primarily gas-prone and, since 1959, the growth in gas output has been substantial as the Soviets developed a pipeline infrastructure to send gas to the north and west.

Globalshift expects that new investment in infrastructure, especially in long distance pipeline routes to China, should allow the country to increase gas output. Furthermore a part of the Ust Yurt plateau also lies in Uzbekistan and gas output is expected to grow from here along with associated gas from the Fergana Basin.


Map and National Flag

Central Asia


E and P


Oil and gas summary



Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

Statistics (in 2020)


28 mm






Brief history of the country

Uzbekistan is a unitary presidential republic. The President is both head of state and head of government elected by popular vote for a 5-year term.

The prime minister and deputy ministers are appointed by the president. Parliament is bicameral.

The elected lower house called the Supreme Assembly (Oliy Majlis) has 150-members and the upper house, called the Senate has 100-members. Both sit for 5-year terms but most opposition suppressed and the executive branch holds almost all the power.

Uzbekenergo is the ministry that oversees operations through the NOC, Uzbekneftegaz (Uzbek Oil and Gas). This was established in 1992 and 1998 when the government merged 9 companies. It manages operations in the oil and gas sector including supervision of tenders and proposals for concessions.

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