Media Highlights of the Week
Author:Caspian Policy Center
Mar 6, 2019
Pashinyan Expresses Interest in Iranian Gas and Deepening Bilateral Relations Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that his country was interested in purchasing Iranian natural gas in an address to representatives of the Armenian community in Iran. He added that Armenia may even be willing to transport Iranian gas to other countries. Pashinyan had just finished discussions with Iranian leadership, which he said focused on deepening bilateral relations with Tehran despite US sanctions. Kazakhstan to Launch First Phase of New Wind Farm Kazakhstan is finishing construction of the first 50 MW phase of the Astana EXPO 2017 wind farm, according to remarks from CAPEC Green Energy Director Yedil Saryev. The first phase will be launched in mid-2019, followed by the second phase in 2020. The farm will have a total capacity of 100 MW and will be equipped with 30 wind turbines upon completion. The project is expected to provide electricity to at least 10,000 homes and foster a reduction in emissions equivalent to 113,000 cars per year. Kazakhstan to Reduce Oil Exports in 2019 Kazakhstan plans to reduce its oil exports by approximately 2 percent, or 1.5 million tons. Most of the reduction will come out of its exports to China via the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline, which will go from supplying 1.38 million tons to 0.5 million tons of oil. Kazakhstan will also stop supplies to Russia’s Orenburg refinery, which received about 0.5 million tons last year. Supplies along the Caspian Pipeline will remain unchanged. Gas Supply from Azerbaijan to Georgia Set to Increase Azerbaijan’s supply of gas to Georgia may increase by up to 11 percent in 2019, according to recent statements from Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR. Georgia has imported around 500 million cubic meters of Azerbaijani natural gas so far this year, and SOCAR plans to supply an additional 1.26 billion cubic meters by late 2019. In total, supplies are likely to come to around 2.45 billion cubic meters of gas, 11 percent more than in 2018. Azerbaijan Becomes Third Largest Gas Supplier to Turkey Azerbaijan Azerbaijan exported 794.5 million cubic meters of gas to Turkey in December, making it the country`s third largest gas supplier behind Russia and Iran. This represents an increase of more than 200 million cubic meters over the same period of the previous year. IEA Predicts Oil Consumption Will Rise The International Energy Agency reports that oil consumption is likely to grow in the coming decades due to rising demand from the petrochemicals, trucking, and aviation industries. This will require conventional oil projects to be approved at higher rates to meet growing demand. Europe Remains Dependent on Russian Gas Europe’s depends on Russia for 38 percent of its natural gas, despite efforts to diversify. The upcoming Nordstream and Turkstream 2 pipelines will likely continue this trend. Already, Bulgaria is considering joining Russia’s Turkstream 2 project, and Germany is preparing for one of the largest sustained increases in natural gas consumption in almost two decades. China Set to Become Largest Natural Gas Importer China is on track to replace Japan as the world’s largest natural gas importer. Its imports of natural gas stood at 13.7 billion cubic meters in January, a 29.3 percent year on year increase. China’s natural gas imports have been steadily growing to meet domestic demands, especially following government initiatives to find alternatives to coal. CPC Increases Oil Exports The Caspian Pipeline Consortium exported 10.5 million tons of oil in January and February of 2019, an 11.3 percent year on year increase. In February alone, CPC exported 4.89 tons versus only 4.59 tons last year. Much of this supply comes from Kazakhstan’s Tengiz, Kashagan, and Karachaganak fields. ExxonMobil Makes New Natural Gas Discovery Exxon Mobil announced that it has made the world's third-biggest natural gas discovery in two years on Thursday. The reserve is located the coast of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean at the Glaucus-1 well and could represent a natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet. Gazprom Exports Chief Medvedev and Another Deputy CEO to Leave Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, was relieved of his post. The company announced his departure and said that he will be replaced in due course, but decline to release any additional information. Another deputy CEO, Valery Golubev, will also leave the company. Gazprom also appointed Sergei Menshikov, head of a unit on the Yamal Peninsula, to be head of production, after announcing that former head Vsevelod Cherepanov would be changing roles in the company.
Georgian President Visits Azerbaijan President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili visited Baku on February 28th, her first trip to the country since taking office. She met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as well as first Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva to discuss bilateral relations and further opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. Kazakhstan Builds Cooperation with OIC The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) began the 46th session of its Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi on March 2nd. The head of the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan held talks with the Secretary General of the OIC before the session to reconcile various positions on political and economic issues. During the meeting, many initiatives proposed by President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev were given priority, including the General Assembly of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security and the Transport Geographic Information System. Saudi Prince to Visit Azerbaijan Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal will visit Baku, from March 14-16 to participate in the 7th Global Baku Forum. Al-Faisal serves as chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, and was previously Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.S. and the UK. Russia Continues Supply of Defense Products to Tajikistan Russia has delivered a new inventory of defensive products to Tajikistan, according to its Ministry of Defense. The supply includes radar stations that detect air objects for air defense systems to target and is worth around $9 million. Russia provides these products to Tajikistan without compensation as part of a modernization program to boost Tajikistan’s effectiveness and strengthen its border. Russia Adds to Western Military Forces Russia is adding tank and missile defense units to its Baltic fleet. Russian media is reporting that the move is a response to NATO’s presence in the Baltic states, which has increased in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine. EU and Turkmenistan Hold Meeting The EU and Turkmenistan held the eighteenth meeting of the Joint Committee on February 26thin Brussels to review progress made in trade, economic development, bilateral cooperation, political developments and human rights, as well as current political and governance issues in Turkmenistan. Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan Discuss New Co-Op Format Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hinted that a trilateral format of cooperation can be created between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan could be developed, according to Turkish media. Minister Cavusoglu reportedly praised other formats of cooperation in the region, adding that they led to important connectivity projects.
Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia to Discuss Increased Economic Cooperation Representatives of Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia will gather on March 4th in Baku for the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission on Cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, technology, culture, sports and youth. The meeting will discuss expansion of cooperation in the field of energy, agriculture and the IT sector, as well as the development of trade relations, according to Azerbaijan’s Finance Ministry. Transport Corridor Meeting Held in Romania The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, and Romania met in Bucharest from March 3-4 to discuss the creation of a Caspian Sea-Black Sea international transport corridor. The meeting discussed increasing freight traffic through the ports of Turkmenbashi, Baku, Poti, Batumi and Constanta; cooperating with the EU; and creating a quadrilateral working commission on the implementation of the corridor. The representatives signed a document establishing the corridor and agreed to meet next year in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan Builds New Plant for Reinforced Concrete The Turkmen company Aga Gurlushik has begun construction of a manufacturing plant for reinforced concrete products in Gokdepe. The plant will have the capacity to produce 500,000 meters of concrete pipes with a diameter of 300-1,200 millimeters upon completion, and will be designed to manufacture products using environmentally friendly technologies. Turkmenistan Constructs Artificial Lake Turkmenistan has begun constructing an artificial lake Altyn Asyr in the Karakum desert to serve as an emergency water supply. The lake will collect drainage water and redistribute it to irrigate green spaces and expand pastures. Lapis Lazuli Meeting to be Held in Turkmenistan The transport ministers and heads of custom services of Lapis Lazuli participating countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Turkmenistan—will meet in Ashgabat in May, according to the Turkmen government. The last meeting of these representatives was in November 2018. Kazakhstan Bans Import of Iranian Poultry Kazakhstan has imposed a ban on poultry, poultry meat, and eggs from Iran following an outbreak of bird flu. The H5N8 virus affected a flock of geese, ducks, free-range chickens in the village of Valiran in December. The ban is temporary, but its duration is uncertain. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan May Increase Transportation Collaboration Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan may create a working group to strengthen their regional transportation and logistics capabilities. Senior representatives from the Azerbaijan’s Caspian Shipping Company and Kazakhstan’s Temir Zholy met in Baku on February 27, to discuss transport routes in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan’s efforts to upgrade its marine fleet, and the capabilities of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR). (Sources: AKI Press, Tehran Times, Trend News Agency, AzerNews, Agenda.ge, Tasnim News Agency, Eurasia Times, Army Recognition, Egemen Qazaqstan, Hellenic Shipping News, News.am, International Energy Agency, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, Xinhua, Caspian News, KazInform, CNBC, Reuters)