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caspian weekly roundup

Caspian Weekly Roundup

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Nov 27, 2018

Energy

Italy’s Turboden May Produce Power from Flare Gas in Uzbekistan Italy’s Turboden S.p.A. may begin producing electricity in Uzbekistan by utilizing associated petroleum gas (APG) and flare gases, the Uzbek media reported referring to the draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers.  The Ministry of Innovation Development and Turboden S.p.A., a member of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, have already signed a memorandum of intent, which provides for long-term cooperation in the utilization of associated and flare gases for the production of electricity.  In April 2015, Uzbekistan made commitments to end gas flaring by 2030 as part of a global partnership program to stop burning the associated gas, as proposed by the UN and the World Bank. Japanese Company to Build Gas Turbine Power Plant in Turkmenistan Japan's Sumitomo Corporation and Turkey's Ronesans have started the construction of a 432-megawatt gas turbine power plant in Charjew District of Turkmenistan's Lebap Province, the "Neutral Turkmenistan" newspaper reported. The project is being implemented under a contract with the Turkmenenergo State Corporation. The project is financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), which has entered into a loan agreement with the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan. Gazprom Resumes Buying Turkmen Gas Russian state gas company Gazprom will begin importing gas from Turkmenistan in 2019. Russia used to control Turkmenistan’s gas market but lost their grip in 2009 when Turkmenistan opened a pipeline with China. Russia stopped importing Turkmen natural gas entirely when the country refused to lower its prices, leaving China as Turkmenistan’s sole natural gas importer. Reportedly, representatives from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan have also begun buying Turkmen gas. 11,000 Families Receive Natural Gas in Georgia’s Mountainous Adjara The first stage of the project for supplying natural gas to Georgia’s highland Adjara has been completed successfully and the Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze ignited a fire from the main pipeline to mark the completion of the project, Agenda.ge reports.  [This project] is a very important step of state magnitude, as it will enable us not only to avoid the reduction of population in mountainous Adjara, but on the contrary - it will let us increase it further and make this place more interesting for the development of tourism. This fascinating landscape we see now should become an all-year-round destination of recreation and natural gas supply is a prerequisite for this”, said Bakhtadze. Azerbaijani Deputy Energy Minister Dismissed Natig Abbasov has been dismissed as Deputy Energy Minister of Azerbaijan, the Energy Ministry of Azerbaijan said in a message on Nov. 23.  The relevant order was signed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on Nov. 20, 2018, the message said. Abbasov had served as deputy energy minister since 2009. SOCAR to Build Nine Filling Stations at New Istanbul Airport The Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR will build nine filling stations at the new Istanbul airport, the company said on Nov. 23.  SOCAR won the corresponding tender.  The filling stations will operate from December 31, 2018. SOCAR’s filling stations will serve about 10,000 cars daily.  “For the first time, after filling stations open, the company will directly begin to serve customers in Turkey,” the company cited Chairman of the Board of SOCAR Turkey Vagif Aliyev as saying.  “We entered the Turkish market in 2008 by acquiring Petkim and have already invested $14.2 billion in such projects as STAR Refinery, the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, the Petlim container terminal, the Petkim wind farm.” Saudi-German HV Supplying Pipes to Turkmenistan for TAPI Gas Pipeline The Global Pipe Company (Saudi-German joint venture) has started to supply steel pipes for construction and installation work on the Turkmen section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reported Nov. 20.  The pipes are transported from the port of Dammam through the Caspian Sea to the Turkmenbashi International Seaport.  Financing of this contract in the amount of $40 million is carried out by the Saudi Fund for Development. So far, 175 wagons have arrived at the Ymambaba railway station in the Mary region of Turkmenistan, and about 4,956 meters of pipes have already been unloaded.  Thus, in two stages, over 35,000 meters of steel pipes will be delivered to Turkmenistan.

Security

Ilham Aliyev Appoints New Head to Foreign Policy Department of Presidential Administration Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order appointing Hikmet Hajiyev as head of the foreign policy department of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration.  The order comes into force from the date of its signing. Uzbekistan Notifies Kyrgyzstan on Conducting Combat Readiness of its Troops The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan received a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, kabar.kgreports.  The press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic reported that in a note, the Uzbek side notifies the Kyrgyz side about the conduct of an inspection of the combat readiness of the troops of the Republic of Uzbekistan on November 26, 2018. The test is aimed at assessing the combat readiness of the troops and forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  As noted in the note, the events are held in strict accordance with the previously accepted obligations of Uzbekistan towards other states and are not directed against their interests. Kyrgyz Prime Minister Arrives in Minsk on Working Visit Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Mukhamedkalyi Abylgaziev arrived in Minsk (Republic of Belarus) on a working visit. During the visit, the head of government will participate in a regular meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council on November 26-27, kabar.kg reports.  The meeting participants will consider issues of further deepening cooperation of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. In particular, discussions on such topics as the implementation of the Union’s digital agenda, development of a draft financial market concept are expected, the EAEU budget for 2019 will be reviewed, and a report on the removal of obstacles in the domestic market in 2017-2018 and other relevant issues will be considered.  Following the meeting, the signing of a number of documents is expected. President of Azerbaijan Visits Turkmenistan Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made an official visit to Ashgabat last week. The two delegations signed bilateral agreements relating to transport and trade logistics, cooperation in arts and sciences, and education, among others. President Aliyev praised these agreements as helpful steps in establishing the East-West transport corridor. He also expressed satisfaction with bilateral cooperation in regional security, specifically in the Caspian Sea. Afghanistan Considering Delaying April Presidential Election Afghan authorities are considering postponing a presidential election scheduled for April 20 next year, officials said, following heavy criticism of the chaotic organization of parliamentary elections last month, Reuters reports.  Kubra Rezaie, a spokeswoman at the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said an option was being considered in which the presidential election, along with already delayed parliamentary elections in the central province of Ghazni and district council elections could be delayed by three months.  “But we cannot say they will be postponed because this is something at an initial stage,” she said.  Last month’s parliamentary elections, which saw huge delays at polling stations across Afghanistan, came in for heavy criticism over problems ranging from incomplete voter lists to malfunctioning biometric voter verification equipment. All Parties to Astana Talks on Syria Confirm Participation All parties invited to the Astana meeting on Syria, scheduled to take place on November 28-29, have confirmed their participation, Kazakh Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov told reporters on Monday, TASS reports.  "The guarantors of the Astana process (Iran, Russia, and Turkey), the Syrian government and the armed opposition, as well as Jordan - an observer country - have confirmed their participation. A confirmation is expected to be made concerning the participation of United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura," Smadiyarov said. Kyrgyz Interior Minister and Head of OSCE Program Office in Bishkek Discuss Topical Issues of Cooperation Minister of Internal Affairs Kashkar Dzhunushaliev held a meeting with Head of the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek, Ambassador Pierre von Arx. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Head of the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek Valeriu Kiver, Head of the Judicial Support and International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Mirlan Karachalov, kabar.kg reports.  The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic reported that during the meeting, Dzhunushaliev noted that the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek is one of the most reliable, long-term, and stable partners of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.  “I would like to note that you provide us with high-quality, advisory, methodical and material and technical support in many areas of the work of the internal affairs bodies,” Dzhunushaliev stressed. Russia and Iran Discussed the Possibility of Transporting Passengers on the Caspian Sea The Acting Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran Mohammad Eslami recently reported that Russia and Iran discussed the potential opportunity on creating a tourist naval route to transport passengers across the Caspian Sea.  Eslami met with the Minister of transport of Russia Yevgeny Dietrich and both officials discussed the possibility of creating such a route. It is noted that the Russian side has welcomed the suggestion. A potential tourist route for transporting passengers on Caspian would reportedly contribute to the development of tourism.

Economy

EIB May Open Regional Office in Uzbekistan The European Investment Bank (EIB) may open a regional office in Uzbekistan, Uzbek media reported referring to a meeting of Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Investment Committee of Uzbekistan Sukhrob Kholmuradov with EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák.  During the negotiations, the EIB proposed to open a regional office of the bank in Uzbekistan.  Hudák noted that the EIB is ready to cooperate with Uzbekistan in other areas, including environmental protection, support for small and medium-sized businesses and the social sector.  He reminded that the parties are currently working on two projects – to improve energy efficiency and water supply. Kazakhstan, Hungary to Activate Mutual Cooperation Kazakhstan and Hungary have agreed to intensify cooperation in the following sectors: trade and investment, finance, agriculture, tourism, education, energy, culture, etc.  The 6th meeting of the Kazakh-Hungarian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was held in Budapest. The delegation of Kazakhstan was headed by the Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov, the delegation of Hungary by the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Finance Mihai Varga. Kazakhstan and Hungary agreed, in particular, to exchange information on the existing opportunities for export-oriented products in the countries, to organize a trade mission of Kazakh producers in Hungary in 2019. BSTDB President Due in Azerbaijan to Talk Over New Co-Op Strategy New President of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) Dmitry Pankin intends to visit Baku on 13-14 December, the bank told Trend.  The BSTDB added that Pankin will take part in the Meeting of the BSEC Council of Ministers and will meet the government officials to discuss the bank’s new strategy being elaborated for the period of 2019-2022.  “The program of the visit is under preparation,” according to the bank. Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan Simplify Visa Regime for Int’l Transportation Participants An agreement was signed in Ashgabat to simplify the visa regime for participants of international transportation in the territory of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan said in a message.  The State Migration Service has been defined as one of the authorized state bodies of Turkmenistan to implement this agreement. The conditions created according to the signed agreement will give impetus to the development of the transport and logistics sector of the country.  The issuance of visas in a short time, increasing their validity period, in turn, will lead to an improvement in trade and economic relations, the message said. EBRD: Kazakhstan has Decade to Prepare for Fall in Global Oil Sales The changing dynamics in global energy markets are likely to put pressure on fossil fuel exporters such as Kazakhstan, reads a report by EBRD titled "The fiscal implications for Kazakhstan of worldwide transition to a greener global economy".  The report notes that these dynamics include the development of alternative energy sources, the falling costs of cleaner energy technologies, and countries’ commitments to achieving global climate goals.  "This will mean that export revenues may fall – due both to lower exports and lower oil prices – by up to 40 percent in the next 20 years, leading to unsustainable levels of public debt in Kazakhstan," EBRD said. The Bank added that as oil is a major source of government revenue, this may in turn put pressure on the state budget. Therefore, good risk management on the fiscal side will be an important priority for fossil fuel-exporting countries. 20 Deliverables for 2020: Lithuania Interested in Azerbaijan’s Active Participation Lithuania is interested in Azerbaijan’s active participation in EU's 20 Deliverables for 2020, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Darius Skusevičius said in an interview with Trend and Azernews.  He said that the implementation of the plan would bring tangible benefits to Azerbaijan’s citizens and create further incentives for cooperation with Lithuania.  "Cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan is yet another important aspect of our political dialogue," Skusevičius said. "We are pleased that the EU and Azerbaijan have recently agreed on Partnership Priorities. We also look forward to a successful conclusion of the negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement that will open new avenues for engagement."  "Lithuania’s relations with Azerbaijan have sustained history - this year our countries celebrated the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the democratic state," he said. "In 2019 we will also mark 100 years since we have first established diplomatic relations - in mid-war period there was a consular section of the Republic of Lithuania in Baku." (Sources: Aysor, AzerNews, Azertag, Nikkei Asian Review, and Trend News Agency.)

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