Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has retreated from a long-running effort to liberalise the country’s oil and gas sector based on free market-based principle, by approving the creation of a new state-run operator to monopolise the purchases and sales of all natural gas in the country.

A decree signed by Mirziyoyev calls for the government to create the new company, called Uzgastrade, by 1 August this year.

Uzgastrade will handle purchases of gas from all producers in the country, and then deliver it for sale to domestic and international customers.