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caspian weekly roundup

Caspian Weekly Roundup

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Aug 21, 2018

Energy

Azerbaijan’s Drilling Company to Expand Activity in Bangladesh SOCAR-AQS plans to expand activity in Bangladesh, according to the Director General of the company, Ramin Isayev. SOCAR-AQS already secured a contract worth $35 million in Bangladesh that foresees the drilling of four wells. The first well is expected to be completed in September 2018. Bangladesh intends to drill 108 exploratory wells, and SOCAR-AQS sees this is an opportunity to expand activity in the country. Isayev said that SOCAR-AQS is pursuing the development of new foreign markets. China Continues to Invest in Processing of Kazakh Agricultural Raw Materials Under a joint project between Kazakhstan’s BioGrain and China’s China Marine Bunker, the construction of an agricultural hub for deep processing of cereals and oilseeds in Kostanay region of Kazakhstan is planned to begin in April-May 2019. The estimated cost of the investment project is US$300 million. Raw materials are planned to be bought from local growers: 600 KMT of 3rd class grain, 750 KMT of 4th and 5th class grain, and 120 KMT of oilseeds. All the finished products will be exported to China. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia Working on Agreement to Co-Op in Energy Sector Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia will sign an agreement to determine participation in the construction of an oil pipeline to the oil refinery complex in the Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan's Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said. The minister noted that considering intentions of the Uzbek side to build a new oil refinery complex in the Jizzakh region, a working group has been established at the level of the authorized bodies of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Uzbekistan commenced on the construction of the new Jizzakh Oil Refinery complex worth $2.2 billion in late April 2018. In June 2017, Gas Project Development Central Asia AG (GPD, a subsidiary of Gazprom International, 40 percent) and Uzbekneftegaz JSC (60 percent) established Jizzakh Petroleum JV. Enter Engineering is the general contractor of the project. The complex is designed to process 5 million tons of oil annually, producing high-quality petroleum products. Global Law Firm Approves Loan Agreement on TANAP Norton Rose Fulbright has advised a consortium of lenders on a Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) financing, according to a statement made by the company on Saturday. This is the first deal between MIGA and Azerbaijan. The consortium includes AKA Bank, Citibank, Credit Agricole CIB, ING, LBBW, Santander, and Soc Gen. The financing will be used by the Southern Gas Corridor CJSC to fund the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). According to a statement made by Anthony Morton, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, MIGA’s guarantees are “playing an important role in securing commercial financing for projects.” TANAP is part of the Southern Gas Corridor, a project that costs over $40 billion and will bring Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region to Europe via Georgia and Turkey. SOCAR’s Second Liquefied Natural Gas Station Opens in Baku The second high standard liquefied gas filling station opened in Baku, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR reported on Friday. The filling station has five fuel dispensers that are of Japanese manufacture. Two of the dispensers will sell liquefied natural gas. With the opening of this station, SOCAR now has 27 filling stations operating in Azerbaijan.

Security

Azerbaijan Plans Third International Defense Exhibition Preparations for the third Azerbaijan International Defense Exhibition (ADEX) are now underway. The conference, which will be held in Baku from September 25th-27th, anticipates more than 200 companies participating. National Groups from Azerbaijan, Turkey, France, Russia, Belarus, Israel, Pakistan, Serbia, and Ukraine, among others will also showcase their capabilities. The Azeri Ministry of Defense Industry will display its newest defense products, including special-purpose weapons and ammunition. Kazakhstan to Ratify the Caspian Sea Convention in Near Future The Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-At-Large Zulfiya Amanzholova said on Friday that her country plans to launch ratification procedures for the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea “immediately.” The document will be submitted to the government, then to parliament in its path to ratification. The Convention was signed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Aktau last week. Angela Merkel to Visit Caucasus The German government announced on August 17th that Chancellor Angela Merkel would visit Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan this week, starting on the 23rd. In Georgia, the first stop of the trip, Merkel’s visit will likely revolve around the country’s NATO aspirations. Armenia and Azerbaijan plan to discuss diplomatic efforts to resolve the longstanding Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Economy

Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to Mull Creating Joint Ventures Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have agreed to intensify cooperation between industrial enterprises of the two countries, the Uzbek Ministry for Foreign Trade said in a message. The corresponding agreement was reached following the negotiations with a Tajik delegation headed by Minister of Industry and New Technologies Shavkat Bobozoda in the Ministry for Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan. Representatives of big industrial associations and companies of the two countries took part in the meeting. The sides stressed commitment to render support and promote cooperation in industry and trade. Preparation of investment and trade agreements, as well as the establishment of joint ventures, were put on the agenda. China and Azerbaijan Can Create Joint Ventures in Third Countries China supports the possibility of creating joint ventures (JV) with Azerbaijan in third countries, according to Ambassador of the PRC to Azerbaijan Wei Jinghua. In 2015, the Chinese government initiated a new model of "international cooperation in the market of third countries" that effectively connects China's manufacturing capacity, advanced technologies of developed countries and the needs of developing countries. This cooperation model has received positive responses in the international arena over the past 2 years," Jinghua said. "In the first half of the year, China became one of the 7 major trade partners of Azerbaijan. Cooperation between the countries particularly in areas, such as transport, communications, agriculture, construction materials production, engineering and light industry is expanding," the ambassador said. At present more than 20 Chinese enterprises are performing entrepreneurial activities in oil and gas, construction, aviation, logistics and other fields in Azerbaijan. Uzbekistan and Turkey to Increase Trade Turnover 2.5 Times Uzbekistan and Turkey plan to increase mutual trade turnover to $5 billion in 2018, the Uzbek media quoted Turkish Ambassador to Uzbekistan Ahmet Basar Sen as saying. The head of the diplomatic mission noted that the trade turnover between Turkey and Uzbekistan has recently reached record levels and will reach $ 2 billion by the end of 2018. Sen noted that Pthe resident of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev invites entrepreneurs from Turkey to invest in the economy of Uzbekistan. (Sources: Azer News, Azertag, RFE/RL, TASS, trend.az, UkrAgroConsult, and Xinhua News.)

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