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media highlights of the week

Media Highlights of the Week

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Apr 16, 2019

Energy

Turkmenistan Appoints New Energy Minister and Chairman of Turkmenoil New individuals have been assigned to key roles in Turkmenistan’s energy industry. Erstwhile Energy Minister Charymyrat Purchekov was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for Construction, Energy, and Utilities. His replacement as energy minister will be Myrat Artykow, formerly the head of the Turkmen Energy Ministry’s office in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Turkmenoil Chairman Dowletdurdy Hajyyew was dismissed by presidential decree due to “shortcomings” in his leadership of the organization. Deputy head Japarguly Orazov will serve as his replacement, though it is unclear if Orazov will take over on a temporary or permanent basis. IEA: OPEC Crude Oil Output Down by 550,000 b/d OPEC crude oil production tumbled 550,000 barrels per day in March, to 30.1 million barrels per day (mb/d), on further cuts from Saudi Arabia and steep losses in Venezuela, according to the Oil Market Report of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Saudi output dropped to its lowest in over two years, boosting compliance with supply cuts to 153 percent, according to IEA estimates. The call on OPEC rises to 30.9 mb/d in 2Q19, reads the report. Russian Firm Contracted to Supply Pipe for TAPI Russian industrial firm Chelyabinsk Pipe Plant Group PJSC (ChelPipe) has reportedly concluded an agreement with Turkmen gas to supply 150,000 tons of large diameter pipe for use in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI). Trend.az reports that “about 200 kilometers of the TAPI gas pipeline passing through the territory of Turkmenistan will be laid out of pipes provided by ChelPipe.” Around 98 Percent of TAP Pipes Back-Filled in Albania Around 98 percent of pipes of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) are back-filled in Albania, according to the TAP AG consortium on April 12. “In April 2016, the first TAP pipes arrived in Albania shipments of steel pipes, equipment and machinery were being offloaded in the port of Durrës. Three years later, around 98 percent of pipes are in the ground (back-filled),” said the consortium. China, World Bank, IMF, Uzbekistan Talk Solar Energy, Micro Hydro-Power Plants The 29th meeting of the Energy Sector Coordinating Committee of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC) was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The meeting included sessions devoted to the reform of state-owned enterprises in the CAREC countries, the medium-term strategy of the CAREC energy sector, and regional trade and investment projects.  The meeting participants read reports on the strategy for reforming the electricity sector in Uzbekistan, developing investment projects in the energy system within the framework of CAREC, and discussed options for implementing public-private partnership schemes in the energy sector.

Security

Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers Meet Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatasakanian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov traveled to Moscow for discussions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on April 15. Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia hosted the agreement, while Russian, French, and American co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group were in attendance. Russia Tests Anti-Air Missiles in Astrakhan Russia fired a volley of S-300 surface-to-air missiles during a training exercise in the Caspian Sea port of Astrakhan on April 15. The missiles successfully destroyed approximately 20 aerial targets. U.S. Ambassador Applauds Azerbaijan’s Fight Against International Terrorism On April 15, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle Litzenberger said that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of the U.S. in the fight against international terrorism. Litzenberger made the remarks at the 36th International Drug Enforcement Conference being held in Baku. The Ambassador said that by sending peacekeeping forces to Afghanistan, Azerbaijan makes an important contribution to ensuring international peace. Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Hold Talks in Tashkent President of Kazakhstan Kasym-Jomart Tokayev met President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on April 15. This is the first visit of President Tokayev to Uzbekistan at the invitation of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov greeted President Tokayev upon landing at Tashkent Airport.  The Presidents are expected to adopt a joint declaration and a package of bilateral documents aimed at further enhancement of multifaceted cooperation. Kazakhstan Provides Arms to Tajikistan The upper house of Kazakhstan’s parliament approved a new transfer of equipment, air weapons, ammunition, artillery, and protective gear to Tajikistan on April 11. Kazakh lawmakers cite the dangers on Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan as the reason for increased assistance. Kyrgyzstan President Visits Germany The first day of the visit, April 15, was devoted to economic issues. In particular, the head of state took part in the Kyrgyz-German economic forum, where he spoke at Hanns Seidel Foundation, and visited an agricultural enterprise. On April 16, the President Sooronbai Jeenbekov is scheduled to meet in Berlin with the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, as well as with the President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble. Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Visits Iran Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tileuberdi visited Iran last week to take part in the sixteenth round of political consultations between Iran and Kazakhstan. Tileuberdi met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, the creation of a joint economic and transit commission, and the expansion of consular cooperation, among other issues. Turkmenistan Approves New Diplomats Turkmenistan appointed Ishanguly Amanlyev as Turkmen Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Tunisia on April 12. Ambassador Amanlyev will oversee Turkmenistan’s diplomatic missions in Tunisia and Morocco. Russia Considers Ending Lease of Baikonur Space Complex An official from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Digital Development, Defense and Aerospace Industry confirmed that Russia is considering ending its lease of Baikonur Space Complex in Kazakhstan. Russia has leased the complex from Kazakhstan for about $115 million per year for the last 25 years but has been trying to lessen its dependence on the complex by constructing cosmodromes within Russia’s borders.

Economy

Turkmenistan’s GDP Grows Significantly Since Early 2019 The growth of the gross domestic product of Turkmenistan in the first quarter of 2019 made up 6.2 percent. According to the data, the plan for oil and gas condensate production was fulfilled by 100.1 percent, for natural gas and associated gas by 103 percent, for oil refining by 108.1 percent, gasoline production by 101.5 percent, diesel fuel by 102.6 percent, polypropylene by 100 percent, lubricating oils by 101.6 percent, and liquefied gas by 117.1 percent. The growth rate of utilized investments was 105.7 percent. Uzbekistan, China Plan to Create a Joint Investment Fund Uzbekistan and China are planning to create a joint investment fund within the framework of the global initiative "One Zone, One Way.” The parties agreed on the implementation of that project during the international investment forum in the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan. Speaking to the participants, the secretary general of the China Cultural Investment Fund Jiancheng Zhu proposed to create a fund for investment in bilateral cooperation between China and Uzbekistan, to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. Turkmenistan Presents its Investment Potential to China A roundtable on the presentation of the investment potential of Turkmenistan was held in Beijing with the participation of representatives of leading Chinese business circles, according to the former Turkmen Foreign Ministry. In particular, detailed information was provided about the Caspian Economic Forum, which will be held on August 12 in Awaza—Turkmenistan’s national tourist zone. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Plan to Increase Volume of Trade Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are planning to increase the volume of mutual trade to $4 billion. Nowadays, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan carry out joint projects and cooperation programs in such areas as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, food industry, tourism, transport, and logistics. Ukrainian Industrial Giant Eyes to Enter Azerbaijani Market The Ukrainian company Tekhnomash is interested in supplying mining equipment to the Azerbaijani market, according to the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Organization (AZPROMO). The company is engaged in the production of magnetic declarators, tippers, cargo and passenger railcars, closures, classifiers, and other equipment, as well as spare parts for them. Uzbekistan to Attract the World Bank to Build New Railway from Afghanistan to Pakistan Uzbekistan plans to involve the World Bank in construction of a new railway through Afghanistan, according to Uzbek Railways. The issue was discussed in Tashkent as part of the first meeting of the working group on the construction of the railway Mazari-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar. Construction of a railway from Afghanistan to Pakistan will cost $5 billion. (Sources: AKI Press, Al-Masdar News, AzerNews, Caspian News, China Daily, Egemen Qazaqstan, Eurasianet, Mehr News, News.Az, RFE/RL, and Trend News Agency.)


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