The impoverished Central Asian state of Tajikistan said Monday that it had been cut off from natural gas shipments by its neighbour and sole energy supplier Uzbekistan.
The announcement comes amid traditional end-of-year contract negotiations and continuing tensions over Tajikistan's plans to build a hydroelectric power station that could choke off Uzbek water supplies.
"We have stopped receiving gas from Uzbekistan," a spokesman for the Tajiktransgas state gas company told AFP. "The supplies have been cut."
Energy power Uzbekistan last halted gas shipments to Tajikistan for two weeks in April.
Uzbekistan has been seeking to funnel its lucrative gas exports to new markets in China and has also curbed its shipments to Russia.
But Tajikistan -- poorest of the ex-Soviet nations and still recovering from a 1990s civil war -- has few other energy sources and suffers from chronic electricity shortages.
The nation of 7.5 million is now moving ahead with plans for a Rogun Dam project that would tap into the mountain country's abundant water resources.
Uzbekistan fears the dam could badly hurt its large cotton industry and become a national security threat.
Analysts estimate Tajikistan's gas requirements at 1.2 billion cubic metres (42 billion cubic feet) per year.
The country only received 133 million cubic meters at a price of $300 per 1,000 cubic metres in 2012. The amount has been enough to operate just one Tajik power plant.
Uzbekistan's announcement last Tuesday that it intended to interrupt its Tajik supplies prompted urgent calls for negotiations from Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov.
But Tajik authorities say their request for talks was met with silence by Uzbekistan and that they have still not received a formal explanation about the cut.
"A new contract between the two sides has still not been signed," said the Tajiktransgas spokesman.
"The Tajik side is ready for negotiations. But we are still waiting for an invitation (for talks) by our Uzbek colleagues."
Uzbek gas authorities issued no immediate comment.