Caspian Weekly Roundup
Tajikistan Launches First Unit of Rogun HPP
The long-awaited day for Tajikistan, which often faces electricity shortage problems, has finally come. President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon launched the first unit of the Rogun hydropower plant on November 16. High-ranking representatives from various countries of the world, including Russia, Italy, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, other countries and authoritative regional and international organizations, arrived in Tajikistan to participate in this historic event. Emomali Rahmon first put the 500 kV transmission line “Dushanbe-Rogun” into operation at the construction site by pressing a button. The 500 kV “Dushanbe-Rogun” power line was built under the project “Restoration and construction of power lines in areas of republican subordination”, the total cost of which is 650 million somoni ($70 million). The project was launched in September 2017, and completion of work in this direction is scheduled for August 2021.
Turkmenistan to Discuss its Export Gas Pipeline Projects at Int’l Forum
Ashgabat will host the Turkmenistan International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition (OGT Expo 2018) on November 20-22, the Turkmenoil state concern and the Turkmen Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the organizers of the event, said in a message. Special attention will be paid to such issues as the diversification of export routes of Turkmen natural gas, attraction of investments to the oil and gas industry, introduction of innovative technologies in the process of search and production of hydrocarbons, global experience in the production of environmentally friendly fuel, projects on the processing of natural gas and the production of gas chemical products. “During the conference, it is planned to organize discussion on the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline,” the message said.
Tengizchevroil Reveals Volume of Direct Payments to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s Tengizchevroil (TCO) oil company made a total of more than $7.2 billion worth direct payments to Kazakhstan in the first three quarters of 2018, TCO said in its report. “From 1993 through 3Q 2018, TCO made direct financial payments of over $132 billion to Kazakhstani entities, including Kazakhstani employees’ salaries, purchases of Kazakhstani goods and services, tariffs and fees paid to state-owned companies, profit distributions to Kazakhstani shareholder and taxes and royalties paid to the government,” said the company. The report shows that in January-September 2018, TCO spent over $2.5 billion on Kazakhstani goods and services, including over $1.6 billion for Future Growth Project – Wellhead Pressure Management Project (FGP-WPMP). TCO said it has invested more than $27.2 billion on Kazakhstani goods and services since 1993.
Ashgabat, Berlin Mull Prospects for Energy Co-Op
A delegation of Turkmenistan led by Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov is on a working visit to Berlin these days, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry said in a message. The delegation has already held several meetings with Claudia Dorr-Voss, state secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Joachim Bertele, the German Chancellor’s counsellor for foreign policy and security. During the meeting, the sides discussed prospects for cooperation in various fields, including energy, transport, logistics and financial ones. In addition, a meeting was held with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, where it was noted that meetings at a high state level are an important factor in strengthening bilateral relations.
Work in Progress: Kazakhstan’s Strategy to Boost Oil Export
Crude and condensate production in Kazakhstan in January-October 2018 amounted to 74.5 million tons, Minister of energy Kanat Bozumbayev said on Tuesday. Compared to the same period of last year, the growth made 4.8 percent, he said at a government meeting in Astana, Interfax Kazakhstan reported. Of this volume, crude output amounted to about 63.9 million tons, which is 6.2 percent more than in the same period of 2017, while condensate production exceeded 10.6 million tons, according to data from statistical Committee of the Ministry of national economy of Kazakhstan. The increase in production is mainly due to large oil fields – Kashagan, Tengiz and Karachaganak. According to the minister, oil production at three major facilities amounted to 44.3 million tons, including 10.7 million tons from Kashagan, 23.4 million tons from Tengiz and 10.1 million tons from the Karachaganak field.
Turkmenistan Eyes to Start Gas Supply to South Asia in 2020
The Turkmen gas, which is to be delivered via the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, will reach Pakistan in two years, the Turkmengas State Concern said in a message quoting CEO of the TAPI Pipeline Company Ltd. Consortium Muhammetmyrat Amanov. He was speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) underway in the UAE. Amanov also noted that the total cost of the TAPI pipeline is about $7 billion. “We plan to make a final investment decision in the first half of next year, and then to gradually complete construction in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India,” he noted. The construction of the pipeline began in December 2015. As the leader of TAPI Pipeline Company Limited, Turkmengas State Concern, which has a controlling stake, is the main financier and project manager. The consortium also includes the Afghanistan Gas Corporation, Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited and Indian GAIL.
Presidents Putin and Erdogan Attended the Ceremony on the Occasion of the End of TurkStream Project
On Monday, November 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came together at the ceremony of the completion of the TurkStream project’s offshore section sponsored by Russian natural gas producer Gazprom in Istanbul. The offshore section of the project extends from the compressor station “Russkaya” on the coastline of Anapa to the Kıyıköy on the Turkish Thrace coast. The pipeline runs over 930 km through the Black Sea, and is further scheduled to extend to the border of Turkey with other countries. It is expected that the power of the Turk stream will exceed 31 billion cubic meters of fuel. The overall cost of the project sums up to 7 billion euros. President Putin congratulated his Turkish counterpart on the end of the segment of the project and noted that “[i]mplementation of projects of this sort and this project in particular is a striking and good example of ability to protect the national interests, because TurkStream completely corresponds to the interests of national economy of the Republic of Turkey.”
Azerbaijani and Belarusian Presidents Meet
The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Belarus held a one-on-one meeting, followed by an expanded meeting in Minsk. Both Presidents signed documents relating to their bilateral relations in a ceremony after the meetings including one that will supply Belarusian weapons to Azerbaijan. The memorandum of understanding between Belarus’s State Military Industrial Committee Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense covers the supply of weapons and air defense equipment.
Kazakhstan and Iran Hold Consular Consultations
Kazakhstan and Iran met to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation last week and signed a final protocol dictating areas of agreement. Among these agreements is one to issue multiple visas per year to drivers of transport companies who have to travel between Kazakhstan and Iran. This was the eighth round of consular consultations between the two countries.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey Announce Next Round of Syria Talks
The 11th meeting of the Astana peace process will take place in Kazakhstan from November 28th-29th, according to Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister. Participants will discuss the situation on the ground in Syria with a focus on Idlib. Representatives from the Syrian government in Damascus and the armed opposition will attend the meeting, along with unspecified representatives from Russia, Iran, and Turkey.
Deputy Foreign Ministers Meet in Kyrgyzstan
The eight annual Meeting of the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Central Asian States was held this weekend in Bishkek. Representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan attended, as did the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, representatives of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. The meeting is a platform for the states to discuss areas of mutual interest with an emphasis on security concerns such as radicalization, violent extremism, terrorism, and transnational crime. This year’s iteration was Afghanistan’s new Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman’s first visit to Central Asia, and he emphasized that Afghanistan values its ties to Central Asia and wants further integration in the region.
President Putin and Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Held Talk on Friday
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a mobile talk with acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Kremlin press service reports. The two leaders discussed “pressing issues” of bilateral cooperation within Eurasia. Both parties maintain close ties by regularly meeting at a number of international events with the last encounter held in September in Moscow. Acting Prime Minister Pashinyan also noted that he invited President Putin to Armenia, though the exact dates of such a meeting yet to be confirmed.
Trade Turnover Between Azerbaijan, Georgia Hit $450 Million
Azerbaijan and Georgia maintain high-level relations in all spheres, especially in economic field. Two countries have already taken initiatives for global projects in the region together for a long time. Close bilateral ties play a key role in the development of regional cooperation. Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev met with a delegation led by Georgian Finance Minister Ivane Matchavariani visiting Azerbaijan on November 17. Speaking about the important role of foreign trade in cooperation with Georgia, which is a strategic partner of Azerbaijan, Shahin Mustafayev stressed the recent developments in economic relations.
“This year trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Georgia amounted to $ 450 million in January-September, while exports increased by 8 percent. In 1995-2018, Georgia invested $ 93.8 million in Azerbaijani economy and Azerbaijan invested $ 3 billion in Georgia. Since 2012, Azerbaijan is in the first place in terms of investments in Georgia. More than 300 Georgian companies registered in Azerbaijan, about 650 Azerbaijani investment companies, especially SOCAR, operate successfully in Georgia”, he said.
Uzbekistan’s Agriculture Machinery Holding Issues Extra Shares
Uzbekistan’s agriculture machinery holding, UzAgroTechMachHolding (O’zagrosanoatmashxolding), has registered an additional issue of shares worth 273.94 billion soums (over $33.12 million), the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Assistance to Privatized Enterprises and Development of Competition told Trend. The total value of the holding’s accounted shares exceeded 864.9 billion soums ($104.57 million). The Committee said that as of Nov. 16, 2018 the securities of 603 joint-stock companies were taken into account at the Central Securities Depository, the total volume of which amounted to 5.599 trillion with a nominal value of 57.135 trillion soums. The financial sector (banks, stock exchanges, investment funds, leasing and insurance companies) accounted for 3.336 trillion shares with a nominal value of 14.964 trillion soums.
Italian Companies Interested in Cooperation with Turkmenistan’s Private Sector
The business forum organized by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan together with Italian Trade Agency has taken place in Ashgabat, said a message from Turkmen government. The Italian delegation includes more than thirty companies functioning in the area of fuel and energy complex (FEC), chemical and food industry, agriculture, in particular such companies as Eni, Maire Tecnimont, Nuovo Pignone, FATA, Kerry Logistics, Aermec, Brunel. The Ambassador of Italy to Turkmenistan Diego Ungaro noted that the volume of Turkmen exports to Italy has almost tripled from the beginning of this year, and the volume of Italian products imported in Turkmenistan has increased by 50 percent, the message says.
Azerbaijan, Belarus Ink Agreement for North-South Project
Belarusian Railway state association and Azerbaijan Railways CJSC signed an agreement on mutually beneficial cooperation following the 11th meeting of the Belarus-Azerbaijan intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, BelTA reported. Head of Belarusian Railway Vladimir Morozov said that the interaction of the railways of the two countries is of traditional nature and the new agreement was signed not only to formalize the existing cooperation, but also to give it a new impetus. “This implies the creation of the most comfortable, sustainable transport links between Belarus and Azerbaijan. What is especially important is the development of the North-South corridor, the creation of conditions for the movement of goods from India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus. The agreement involves the creation of working groups on tariff and technological spheres. Around 96 percent of goods in trade between two countries are moving by rail. We are interested in having as many of them as possible. This requires fair tariffs, good logistics services and rolling stock, as well as the efficient work of the two railway administrations. The lion’s share of the transit corridor runs through the Russian Federation. We work with partners so that tariff and technology policies are agreed,” he said.
Croatia Interested in Creating JVs with Azerbaijan in Various Spheres
Croatia interested in creating joint ventures (JVs) with Azerbaijan in various spheres, Chargés d’affaires ad interim of Croatian embassy in Azerbaijan Branko Zebic said in an interview with Trend. “Creation of JVs can ensure greater bilateral cooperation in the future. The two countries have potential to create joint ventures in such spheres as pharmaceutical industry, building shipyards and vessels, which Croatia produces and has already sold to Azerbaijan, as well as IT, construction, science and technologies,” he said. Further, Zebic pointed out the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the sphere of agriculture, transfer of know-how and ports industry.
Uzbekistan, South Korea to Build Cement Plant in Karakalpakstan
The issues of development of Karakalpakstan economy have been discussed at the meeting held in Nukus under chairmanship of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the press-service of the head of state reported, Podrobno.uz conveyed. The share of industry in gross regional product of Karakalpakstan has increased from 36 to 41 percent, the message says. And thanks to the measures taken for comprehensive support of craftsmen, their number has increased from 460 in the beginning of the year to 1,480 currently. Shavkat Mirziyoyev gave instructions for creation of even greater number of jobs, establishment of new and expansion of the functioning enterprises. Meanwhile, it has been envisaged to implement 1,018 investment projects for development of industry, the sphere of services and agriculture in 2019-2020. It has been planned to allocate for these purposes 11 trillion soums including $895 million of direct foreign investments.
Azerbaijan Offers Ambitious Projects to Netherlands to Step Up Trade
Azerbaijan offers ambitious projects to the Netherlands that will help increase mutual trade, Deputy Director of the Azerbaijan-Netherlands Business Hub Elnur Sadigov told Trend. He noted that the Netherlands, in turn, sends its proposals to Azerbaijan, and the Business Hub, which is a link between the two countries, will do everything possible to implement these projects. Sadigov said the relations between the two countries are at the highest level, and the presence of Dutch businessmen and specialists in the agriculture sector of Azerbaijan is very important for the country.
(Sources: Kazinform, MENAFN, The National, News.am, TASS, The Times of Central Asia, nd Trend News Agency.)