Headlines from the Caspian: February 13, 2023
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Feb 13, 2023
Energy and Economy
Earthquake Briefly Halts Azerbaijani Oil Exports
While the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline was undamaged by the recent Earthquake in Türkiye, complications with the Ceyhan terminal halted oil exports. Specific details as to the nature of the complications have not been released. However, a spokesperson from British Petroleum, operator of BTC, stated that exports resumed as of February 12. Currently, crude oil and gas exports account for nearly 90 percent of Azerbaijani export revenues.
EIB Approves $1 Billion in Investment Projects in Central Asia
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is expanding its portfolio in Central Asia with the approval of investment projects amounting to over $1 billion, alongside $921 million of previously signed loans. The EIB has stated that much of these funds will be directed toward the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, otherwise known as the Middle Corridor.
Source: Silk Road Briefing
Italy Signs $170 million Energy Deal with Azerbaijan
On February 13, Italy’s electric company, Ansaldo Energia, signed a $170 million deal with Azerbaijan to install four gas turbines in the city of Mingachevir. Italy is searching for new energy suppliers as it cuts its dependency on Russia supply, and this will help diversify buying options.
Source: Market Screener
Lukoil Strikes Deal with KazMunayGas
After Kazakhstan established new operating terms for foreign investors, privately-owned Russian company Lukoil has become the first foreign investor to agree to the new terms. In a February 6 deal struck between Lukoil and Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil and gas company, KazMunayGas, the two companies agreed to a joint exploration and development project of the Kalamkas-more block of the Caspian Sea as well as two shallow-water deposits, Khazar and Auezov.
Source: Upstream Online
Security and Politics
United States Allocates Significant Aid Package to Syria and Türkiye
On February 9, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinked announced that the United States would give $85 million in urgent humanitarian assistance in response to the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Promptly following the earthquake, USAID sent a Disaster Assistance and Response Team to southern Türkiye. Blinken in his statement emphasized, “In both Türkiye and Syria, the United States will remain committed to doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to provide necessary assistance to those impacted by these earthquakes.”
Source: U.S. Department of State
USAID Deputy Administrator Visits Central Asia
On February 11, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Colemen embarked on a visit to Central Asia, with the trip beginning in Kazakhstan. The purpose of the trip will primarily “affirm USAID’s continued commitment to supporting inclusive economic growth, responding to food security needs, and fostering resilient societies through strengthened regional connectivity across Central Asia,” as well as promote the C5+1 diplomatic platform. During Coleman’s visit, topics to be discussed included the implications of the Russo-Ukrainian War, as well as Taliban rule in Afghanistan, on Central Asian countries.
Armenia Gives Humanitarian Aid to Türkiye
For the first time in 35 years, the border between Türkiye and Armenia has been opened to allow for the passage of humanitarian aid from Yerevan. Armenia sent over 100 tons of humanitarian aid and rescue teams across the border to assist in rescue efforts after the devastating earthquake insSouthern Türkiye.
Kazakhstan to Construct Trade Complexes Near Kyrgyzstan
Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Trade announced it will construct five new trade and logistical complexes along the border with Kyrgyzstan. These centers will facilitate production, storage, and transit cooperation, helping advance regional trade integration.
Prime Minister Garibashvili Participates in the World Government Summit
On February 13, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili participated in the World Government Summit held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. During his address, Garibashvili underlined the economic prospects of Georgia and the steps taken to develop the country into a multidimensional regional hub.
Sources: Agenda.ge, AkiPress, Caspian News, EurasiaNet, Market Screener, Reuters, Silk Road Briefing, SP Global, Upstream Online, USAID, U.S. Department of State