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caspian weekly roundup

Caspian Weekly Roundup

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Oct 2, 2018

Energy

Azerbaijan’s First Floating Solar Farm to be Completed in 2021 Azerbaijan’s first floating solar farm is expected to be completed by March 2021, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy.  The project includes plans for three photovoltaic systems at Boyukshor Lake, each with a capacity of up to 100 kilowatts. The framework also incorporates business models to promote participation from the private sector in the installation process. The project was approved by the Asian Development Bank in August 2018. EBRD to Support Green Energy Sector in Uzbekistan The European Bank for Development and Reconstruction (EBRD) has adopted a new strategy for Uzbekistan for 2018-2023, UzDaily.uz reported. The document has been approved by the EBRD Board of Directors. The document states that the strategy is aimed at creating an open, integrated and export-oriented economy. The bank noted that the priorities of the government of Uzbekistan are to reduce the state's presence in the economy, improve the business environment and attract direct foreign investments. As part of the new strategy, the bank will enhance competitiveness by strengthening the role of the private sector. In particular, the bank will support small and medium-sized businesses, as well as developing local capital markets and the strengthening of financial institutions. The financial institution (EBRD) also intends to support the privatization of state-owned enterprises and improvement of the investment climate in Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan Plans to Negotiate with EU on Energy Co-Op A meeting was held with Christian Berger, the head of the EU delegation, at the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan. During the talks, the parties discussed further steps to expand cooperation in the energy sector, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "In this context, the parties noted the upcoming visits of the delegation of Turkmenistan to Brussels," the report said. It was reported in May that the European Union and Turkmenistan are committed to the implementation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, designed to bring Turkmen gas to the European market. The negotiations on the delivery of Turkmen gas to Europe have been conducted since 2011. The Southern Gas Corridor, which also includes the Trans-Caspian project, remains a priority for the EU. Wind Power Production Nearly Triples in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan’s State Statistics Committee reported that in January-August 2018, wind stations produced 2.7 times more electricity – 24.2 million kW/h – compared to the same period last year. Azerbaijan aims to increase the level of alternative energy in the total energy consumption volume to 20 percent by 2020. The State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources intends to implement 23 projects between 2018 and 2020, totaling approximately USD$7.65 million, within the framework of the Strategic Road Map plan. During the same reporting period, the State Statistics Committee reported that solar stations produced 27.6 million kW/h – 4.5 percent less electricity than last year. Total electricity production increased by 1.8 percent, amounting to 15.51 billion kW/h. SOCAR Explores Construction of Methanol Plant in Russia Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is considering building a methanol plant in Russia, according to Director General of SOCAR Polymer Farid Jafarov. Negotiations are ongoing for the large-scale project that aims to increase SOCAR Polymer’s activity. Jafarov noted that SOCAR is talking with a Russian company regarding the methanol plant but did not identify the company. He also stated that the project has the potential to become profitable and competitive due to gas prices in Russia, assuming that Russian raw materials will be used in production. Rosneft and SOCAR to Begin Joint Development of Goshadash Oil and Gas Field Russia’s Rosneft, together with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, will begin exploration and development of the Goshadash oil and gas field Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a meeting of the Azerbaijani-Russian interregional forum in Baku. An agreement was signed in early September 2018 on the joint development of the Goshadash oil and gas block, located approximately 15 km off Azerbaijan’s coast in the Caspian Sea. SOCAR drilled an exploration well at the site in 2012 but did not disclose an estimate of the resources in the field.

Security

Turkish Company to Build Azerbaijani Warships Turkey’s Dearsan shipyard is in negotiations to construct four warships with the Azerbaijani Navy. The company submitted the proposed projects to Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry and asked for Baku Shipyard LLC’s cooperation in constructing the ships in Azerbaijan. The ships will be built with the Caspian Sea’s geography and balance of power in mind, according to Dearsan’s manager for offshore projects. Dearsan has been cooperating with Azerbaijan for the last three years and had its products showcased at the Azerbaijan International Defense Exhibition last week. Azerbaijan and Armenia Leaders Meet President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan held their first meeting last week in Dushanbe on the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States summit. The two agreed to reduce incidents on the border and open an “operational” line of communication between the two sides.Turkmenistan Ends Government-Funded Utilities Turkmenistan will stop providing free natural gas, electricity, and water to its residents beginning next year. Turkmen citizens have received these benefits for the last twenty-five years, though recently the government has reduced the quantity of free utilities provided and required consumers to pay additional fees for more. Russian, Azerbaijani Diplomats Meet in Baku Russian Foreign Ministry announced on September 27 that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin held a private meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Khalaf Khalafov in Baku. The discussion covered a wide range of different topics in the areas of political and humanitarian cooperation, as well as cooperation with international organizations. Both parties emphasized the importance of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, and its positive influence on the development of cooperation between littoral states and strengthening of the regional security. Commonwealth of Independent States Summit Held in Tajikistan The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit took place last week in Dushanbe to discuss the expansion of economic and security ties. All of the member countries’ heads of state were present with the exception of Turkmen President Gurbanguly BerdiMuhamedow who was attending the UN General Assembly in New York. The leaders signed the Interstate Program of Joint Measures to Combat Crime, a five-year-plan covering cooperation on combatting transnational crime from 2019-2023. The meeting also transferred CIS chairmanship to Turkmenistan, which will host the next summit in Ashgabat in October 2019. ADEX-2018 Held in Azerbaijan The third annual Azerbaijan International Defense Exhibition took place last week in Baku from September 25th-27th. The exhibition featured eleven national stands from Azerbaijan, China, France, Iran, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Belarus, Ukraine, and Pakistan. Of that group, the largest participants were Turkey, which showcased forty-one companies, and Russia, which showcased twenty-five.

Economy

World Bank to Allocate $50M to Uzbekistan to Strengthen Social Protection The World Bank plans to provide the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of Uzbekistan with a preferential loan in the amount of $50 million, Podrobno.uz reported. The Uzbek side plans to allocate these funds for the implementation of small and mini-projects aimed at increasing the capacity of employment centers, as well as funding programs for employment promotion and the introduction of a system of monitoring and evaluation of labor activity. In addition, the World Bank has expressed its readiness to provide technical assistance and expert support in the preparation of proposals for the reform of the pension system before the end of 1Q2019. The parties are also discussing the issues related to social protection and support of vulnerable segments of the population. Turkmenistan Unveils Volume of Investments in its Economy During Independence Period President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, speaking at a meeting of the Turkmen Parliament noted that Turkmenistan has turned from the agrarian country into an industrially developed one during its independence, Turkmen state news agency reported. During 27 years of independence, the volume of major investments in the Turkmen economy has increased more than 350 times and reached about 500 billion Turkmen manats or $185 billion, Berdimuhamedov said. Of these, 68 percent or $124 billion, accounts for the manufacturing sector. These funds financed more than 2600 facilities for industrial-technical and cultural-household purposes. India and Uzbekistan to Triple Trade Turnover Uzbekistan and India have agreed to increase mutual trade to $1 billion, the press service of the Uzbek president said. Corresponding documents have been signed following the talks held in New Delhi between President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Twenty documents have been signed covering scientific and technical cooperation, agriculture, tourism, military education, justice, health and medical science, pharmaceuticals, space exploration for peaceful purposes and other areas. Agreements on cooperation between the Andijan region and the state of Gujarat, the cities of Samarkand and Agra, and on the organization of a free pharmaceutical zone have also been signed. World EXPO 2025 Baku Theme Fully Aligned with International Development Agenda: FM The theme of the World EXPO 2025 Baku is fully aligned with international development agenda, said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at the General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. “Inspired by its achievements in economic development, successful social policy, rich human capital and traditional values of multiculturalism, Azerbaijan decided to nominate its capital - the city of Baku - for hosting the World EXPO 2025. Our theme - "Developing human capital, building a better future" - is of universal concern and has a particular significance for Azerbaijan. It is also fully aligned with the international development agenda, in particular, the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said the minister. He pointed out that the whole region of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Caspian has never hosted World Expos. “In that sense, World EXPO 2025 Baku shall be truly universal in terms of expansion of its traditional geography and vivid example that through the historically short time period of 27 years of independence the countries like Azerbaijan can achieve remarkable results for applying to the huge events like World Expo. Availing myself of this opportunity, I kindly ask the Member States of the Bureau of International Exhibitions to vote for Baku at the elections to be held in Paris late in November this year,” Mammadyarov. (Sources: AzerNews, Caspian News, Electric Light & Power, Eurasianet, Marja.Az, Report.Az, TASS, and Trend.Az.)

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