(EnergyAsia, July 30 2013, Tuesday) — Central Asia’s fuel-short economies will have two new oil refineries by next month after Kyrgyzstan starts up an 800,000-ton/year plant to follow on Tajikistan’s recent launch of a 100,000-ton/year plant.

The refineries will help the region’s fast-growing economies reduce dependence on imports of gasoline, diesel and fuel oil.

In launching his country’s second oil refinery on July 20, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon announced plans to triple its capacity to 300,000 tons by the end of next year. The refinery, located in Tursunzoda city in Shahrinav district some 50 km west of the capital city of Dushanbe, will process mostly imported crude oil from Russia.

In March, the landlocked country started up its first refinery with the capacity to process 50,000 tons per year. There are plans to build a third mini refinery with the capacity to process 1.2 million tons/year.

Tajikistan’s economy grew an average rate of more than 9% between 2000 and 2007 before slowing down to around 7.5% the last two years.

Kyrgyzstan expects to meet the bulk of its domestic fuel demand when it starts up its third and largest oil refinery in the northern city of Kara-Balta next month. The Economy and Industry Ministry said it expects domestic fuel prices to drop as the country would reduce import of expensive imports from Russia and Kazakhstan.

China, which is backing the Kara-Balta project, is in talks to help a fourth refinery to add to Kyrgyzstan’s existing two at Jalal-Abad (400,000 tonnes/year) and at Kant (200,000 tonnes).