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caspian weekly roundup

Caspian Weekly Roundup

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Jul 31, 2018

Energy

Russian Gazprom Might Resume Turkmen Gas Imports

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom may resume negotiations with Turkmenistan regarding gas imports this autumn, according to Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky. Originally, Yanovsky asserted in early 2016 that Russia would not import Turkmen gas until the end of 2019. Additionally, Deputy Chairperson of Gazprom Aleksandr Medvedev did not rule out the possibility of resuming the contract to purchase Turkmen gas. Medvedev claimed that Gazprom has reason to rescind the contract with Turkmenistan, but no details were specified.

Kazakhstan Reveals Planned Volume of Gasoline Output at Three Refineries

Kazakhstan’s Vice Minister of Energy Magzum Mirzagaliyev said that gasoline production from three of its oil refineries, Pavlodar, Atyrau, and Shymkent, is projected to be 4.102 million tons by the end of 2018. Vice Minister Mirzagaliyev said Kazakhstan will produce 3.572 million tons and 5.220 million tons of K4 and K5 gasoline in 2018 and 2019. The Pavlodar petrochemical plant was completely modernized at the end of 2017, along with the Atyrau refinery. The Shymkent refinery is still undergoing modernization. After completing modernization of the refineries, Vice Minister Mirzagaliyev said Kazakhstan’s domestic market demand will be met by local oil products, and excess volumes may be exported.

Afghanistan and UAE Buying Fuel in Turkmenistan

Some 18 deals were registered last week at the auction of the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan, the exchange said in a statement July 30. Entrepreneurs from the UAE, Afghanistan bought gasoline and hydro-treated diesel fuel produced at the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries. In addition, colorless sheet glass, portland cement, saraja wool, cotton yarn, licorice were sold. Countries buyers: UAE, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, etc. The total amount of transactions exceeded $23,528,000. The enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership, citizens of Turkmenistan and other states can become participants of the exchange trading by acquiring a brokerage place or concluding a service contract with the brokers of the exchange. The main export items are petroleum products, cotton fiber, products of the domestic textile industry, chemical industry.

Turkmenistan Builds Power Line in Afghanistan

The Rabat-Kashan-Kalai-nau power line was commissioned on July 26 in Afghanistan. A Turkmen delegation participated in the opening ceremony. This power line is among others that Turkmenistan has constructed in Afghanistan, including the Iolotan-Takhbazar line that was completed in March 2016. Afghanistan is not only a recipient of electricity from Turkmenistan but also a transit country, as outlined in Turkmenistan’s plans to export electricity along the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) route. However, various obstacles still hinder infrastructure projects and investment in Afghanistan. For example, members of the Taliban tried to blow up power lines on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border in February of 2016.

Security

Azerbaijani Servicemen to Take Part in Exercises in Georgia

Azerbaijani servicemen will take part in the Noble Partner 2018 multinational military exercises to be held August 1-15 at the Vaziani and Norio training areas, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a message July 30. The purpose of the exercises is to train and improve the interaction of the forces of NATO/PfP countries and partner countries by using NATO standards in the field. Over 3,000 servicemen from 13 NATO countries and partner countries, namely, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Germany, Estonia, France, UK, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the US, will take part in the exercises.

Meeting of Delegations of Naval Forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey Held in Baku

The meeting with the delegation of the Turkish Navy has taken place on July 30 at the headquarters of the Naval Forces (Navy) of Azerbaijan, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said. The successful results and prospects of development of military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey were discussed during the meeting between Acting Commander of the Azerbaijani Navy Captain 1st rank Zaur Hummatov and Deputy Commander of the Turkish Navy for Logistics Vice Admiral Fikret Esin. Noting that the military ties meet the interests of the two countries, the parties stressed the importance of continuing efforts in this direction.

Kazakhstan to Expand Rescue Aviation Fleet

Kazaviaspas Joint Stock Company of the Emergency Situations Committee of Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry announced plans to add twenty helicopters and nineteen planes to its fleet, approximately doubling its size. According to the company’s director general, 130 billion tenges ($377 million) has been allotted for the purchases. The move is part of the adoption of a plan titled 'Centralization of Aviation Services’ which aims to modernize and expand the fleet over the next three to five years.

International Army Games Launch in Russia

The fourth annual International Army Games began in Russia on Saturday and will continue for the next two weeks. The games feature troops from more than thirty countries engaged in gamified, competitive military exercises like tank biathlons and fighter jet maneuvering contests. Also hosting the games are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Iran, and Kazakhstan.

Economy

Tashkent to Host Conference on New Transport Corridors in Central Asia

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, will host an international conference titled “Central Asia in the system of international transport corridors: strategic perspectives and unrealized opportunities” on Sept. 20-21, the Foreign Trade Ministry of Uzbekistan stated on July 30. During the event, issues of effective and mutually beneficial use of international transport corridors, the formation of a single, branched and outwardly integrated transport space in Central Asia will be discussed to strengthen interrelations based on mutual trust and good-neighborliness. The aim of the event will be further development of the dialogue with international financial institutions, organizations, transport unions, as well as representatives of transport and logistics companies to develop existing and form new transport corridors.

China to Establish Large-scale Production of Unrefined Sunflower Oil in Kazakhstan

China intends to expand agricultural investment in Kazakhstan by launching a large-scale production of unrefined sunflower oil. The plant with a processing capacity of up to 300 tons of sunflower seeds per day will be built in the village of Zhetekshi, the message says. It will be able to produce up to 30,000 tons of unrefined oil during the year, which will be exported together with the oilseed residues to China. It is noted that the construction of the plant in this region is not accidental. The processing of sunflower has virtually not been established here, and therefore no competition for raw materials exists here, unlike, for example, East Kazakhstan or Kostanay regions. In addition, the border regions, for instance, the Altai Territory, where the missing amount of seeds can be bought to load the plant, are situated nearby.

Uzbekistan and Russia May Hold the First Interregional Forum in October 2018

Talks were held on July 27 by Foreign Trade Minister of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khodjaev and the adviser-envoy, charge d'affaires of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Uzbekistan Vadim Mitrofanov. The parties expressed interest in the development of direct cooperation between the regions of the two states in business, transport, and development of cooperation ties. Over the past year and a half, delegations from several regions of Uzbekistan visited the Russian Federation. Since early 2018, representatives of the Russian side also visited Uzbekistan several times. As a result of these visits, a number of interregional agreements were reached to increase trade turnover and strengthen cooperation. In particular, there is an intensive dialogue between the cities of Tashkent and Moscow: a program of cooperation between the capitals of the two countries for 2018-2020 is being drawn up, which envisages cooperation on such concepts as "safe city", "smart city", and development of an electronic platform for the urban environment. (Sources: Azer News, Chronicle of Turkmenistan, Eurasianet, Kabar News Agency, Newsweek, Pravda, Press TV, South China Morning Post, TASS, trend.az, and Xinhua News.)

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