Caspian Weekly Roundup
AgTech & Green Energy International Forum Kicks Off in Baku
The first “AgTech and Green Energy international forum” on agrarian technologies and green energy has kicked off in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. Co-Organized by the ministries of Agriculture and Energy of Azerbaijan, the Forum is being hosted at ADA University. Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Leyla Aliyeva, high-ranking officials from a number of ministries, government agencies, heads of farms, foreign experts in the field of green technologies, representatives of start-ups and technology companies and the private sector are attending the Forum.
OPEC and Allies Agree to Cut Oil Production by 1.2 Million Barrels Per Day
Major oil producers have reached a deal to cut oil production and boost the market, following two days of grueling negotiations and despite opposition from US President Donald Trump, CNBC reported. OPEC clinched the deal with allied oil-producing nations including Russia at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Friday. The gathering came after deep divisions in the energy alliance were laid bare at a closely-watched meeting on Thursday, with OPEC unable to agree on the terms of crude output cuts. The alliance will take 1.2 million barrels per day off the market for the first six months of 2019. The 15-member OPEC cartel has agreed to reduce its output by 800,000 bpd, while Russia and the allied producers will contribute a 400,000 bpd reduction. The deal is in line with expectations for the allies to throttle back output by 1 million to 1.4 million bpd.
Over 5 Million Tons of Kazakh Oil Shipped from CPC Marine Terminal
Caspian pipeline consortium (CPC) loaded 5.15 million tons of crude in November 2018 at the CPC Marine Terminal, which is 152,726 tons more year-on-year, Trend reported with reference to the consortium. Of them, 2.38 million tons of crude oil were from the Tengiz field, 1.19 million tons – from Kashagan, 791,508 tons – from Karachaganak, and 251,580 tons – from other Kazakh producers. Russian shippers exported 542,381 tons of crude through the CPC pipeline system in November. In January-November 2018, oil liftings at the marine terminal reached 55.13 million tons. Of them, 25.94 million tons were received from Tengiz, 11.9 million from Kashagan, and 9.26 million tons from Karachaganak fields. Some 503 tankers were loaded at the marine terminal in January-November 2018, with 47 tankers loaded in November.
ADA University has Positive Results in Use of Alternative Energy
Azerbaijan’s ADA University is quite well developed in terms of applying “smart” and “green” technologies, Trend reports citing rector of the university, Hafiz Pashayev, as saying. Pashayev made the remarks at the AgTech and Green Energy Forum, being held under the slogan “Innovations for a Green Future” in Baku on Dec. 10. “Geothermal technologies are used as alternative energy, which allows us to economize,” Pashayev said. “On the other hand, this creates opportunities for improving the skills of our students.” When creating the campus, he added, the priority was the use of “green” and “smart” technologies. “We were able, in a certain sense, to achieve positive results in this area,” he said. “Presently, work is underway to build two more university buildings, where these technologies will also be applied.”
Russia, Kazakhstan Push for Hydrocarbon Expansion with Kurmangazy Project
Russia and Kazakhstan are expanding the area open to oil and gas exploration in Kazakhstan’s Kurmangazy field, the oil and gas field located in Kazakhstan’s portion of the Caspian Sea after Kazakhstan’s senate ratified a protocol that had been signed with Russia last November. The protocol is meant to make slight changes to the existing agreement between the two neighboring nations, which was inked in 1998. Back then, officials in Moscow and Astana agreed on the delimitation of the northern Caspian seabed to exercise sovereign rights to subsoil use in Kurmangazy. As part of the new agreement, Russia and Kazakhstan will increase the area of the field and extend the exploration period for another six years, with the possibility of a further extension up to four more years.
JICA’s Strategy to Help Modernizing Uzbekistan’s Energy Sector Operator
Construction of modern power-generating combined-cycle gas turbines is one of the main elements of the strategy of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the energy sector of Uzbekistan, the agency told Trend on Dec. 7. According to a JICA representative, the agency’s strategy is based on an integrated approach, where various assistance tools, such as loans, technical assistance, gratuitous assistance, training, and staff development, complement and enhance efficiency and effectiveness. “For example, we have plans to build modern combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT), introduce advanced methods within credit projects, create and equip a training center to prepare CCGT operators, conduct advanced training courses in Japan at modern energy facilities,” the JICA rep said. The rep added that the agency intends to continue this strategy further, which should contribute to the modernization of the country’s energy operator Uzbekenergo JSC.
U.S. Defense Official Says Washington Wants Broader Defense Cooperation with Azerbaijan
An official from the United States Department of Defense was in Azerbaijan this week to discuss bilateral security cooperation between two countries considered partners in international peacekeeping and security efforts. Laura Cooper, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, met with President Ilham Aliyev and Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov in Baku on Tuesday. According to reports, Cooper said her visit to Baku was aimed at expanding defense cooperation and the U.S.-Azerbaijan partnership, noting that broader security and defense cooperation is in the best interest of the Trump administration. Cooper cited Azerbaijan’s contributions to international missions, including the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. “The successes achieved today in Afghanistan would not have been possible without the strong support of Azerbaijan,” she said on Tuesday. Azerbaijan’s contributions have been focused on non-combat roles and providing transportation assistance, including cleared airspace.
Protocol Meeting on Caspian Sea Maritime Safety Kicks off in Tehran
The 4th protocol meeting on Caspian Sea maritime safety has kicked off in Tehran, Trend reports citing Mehr News Agency. Representatives of Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan are participating in the meeting. The meeting will run until Dec. 11. The meeting participants will discuss improving safety of vessels in the Caspian Sea, mechanisms in search and rescue operations, oversight and inspection of vessels, as well as protection of the marine environment.
Over 7,000 Troops Will Participate in the First Plenary Round of the International Army Games 2019
The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that first preliminaries of the International Army Games were launched in Southern Military District. The first preliminaries will be held on the training grounds in Astrakhan, Rostov and Volgograd regions, Stavropol and Krasnodar regions, Adygea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Crimea and North Ossetia-Alania republics, as well as at Russian military bases training grounds in Abkhazia, Armenia, and South Ossetia. It is also reported that the Caspian Flotilla and Black Sea Fleet will compete in both the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
India Approves Agreement on Space Research with Uzbekistan
The Government of India headed by Prime-Minister Narendra Modi has approved the agreement on the research of space in peaceful purposes jointly with Uzbekistan, Trend reports referring to Uzbek media. The agreement was signed between the two countries on Oct. 1, 2018, during the first official visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to India. The document will strengthen cooperation between the parties in the development of space technologies, satellite communications and space research. Uzbekistan and India will create a joint workgroup to develop a plant of joint activities and measures on implementation of the document. It was earlier reported that Uzbekistan and France will cooperate in space science, satellite communications, Earth and space research etc.
Turkmen Delegation Discusses Issues of Statelessness in Minsk
A delegation of Turkmenistan took part in the international conference which was organized by Executive Committee of CIS and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) related with the issues of statelessness, Trend reports citing State Migration Service of Turkmenistan. During the conference, the reports of member states of CIS on accumulated experience related to issues of reduction of statelessness were read out. A representative of Turkmenistan informed about the work on migration issues, interaction, and corporation with international organizations and structures. The UNHCR highly appreciated the work of Turkmenistan government on reducing the number of stateless people.
Turkey Ready to Share Innovations in Agriculture with Azerbaijan
Turkey is ready to share its methods and technological innovations in the agriculture sector with Azerbaijan, Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said. He was speaking Dec. 10 at the AgTech and Green Energy Forum, being held in Baku under the slogan “Innovations for a Green Future”, Trend reports. He said that the exchange of views on agricultural reforms with Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of cooperation between the countries. Speaking about global problems, Pakdemirli noted that by 2050, the population in the world will reach almost ten billion people.
Georgia to Have New, European Standards Customs Code in 2019
A new, European style, customs code will come into force in Georgia in 2019, announces Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze, Trend reports referring to Agenda.ge. With the new customs code we will be able to more effectively integrate Georgia into the global economy”, said Bakhtadze. Bakhtadze said that the existing customs code failed to respond to current challenges and that is why the government initiated the new customs code. We aim to make Georgia the economic center of the region. Having a customs code that is based on digital technologies and is maximally adjusted to the customers’ interests is a very important prerequisite for achieving this goal”, said Bakhtadze.
Agriculture – One of Biggest Tech & Innovation Consumers in the World, Says Minister
The agriculture sector is one of the biggest technology and innovation consumers in the world, said Ramin Guluzade, minister of transport, communications and high technologies of Azerbaijan. He was speaking Dec. 10 at the AgTech and Green Energy Forum, being held in Baku under the slogan “Innovations for a Green Future”, Trend reports. He said that this is proved by the signing of a memorandum in 2017 between the International Telecommunication Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) regarding the application of high technologies and innovations in the field of agriculture. “The government of Azerbaijan also pays special attention to this,” he noted. “Information resources and systems in the field of agriculture have been created in Azerbaijan, and work in this direction continues. At the same time, high technologies are widely used in agriculture. This sector is receiving even greater development due to the application of drones, internet of things and BigData technologies. Our ministry can assist in the application of these technologies.”
Iran Central Bank Officially Limits Domestic Bank Transactions
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has officially started its new policy to limit bank transfers via POS machines, while each individual can only transact certain amount of money per day by sending the national identification card numbers to the bank. According to a source in the CBI, the policy was officially implemented on Saturday, Trend reports citing Tasnim News Agency. The Governor of Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnaser Hemmati has previously announced the new policy to limit bank transactions and card to card money transfer by an identification card. The procedure aims to limit the money transaction via the POS machines outside the country and monitoring bank transaction.
Turkmenistan, Japan Ready to Expand Transport Co-Op
A meeting with a delegation led by director of the office for the promotion of international projects of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry Takashi Yoshioka was held in the Turkmen Foreign Ministry, Trend reports citing the Turkmen Foreign Ministry. The sides drew attention to the strategic partnership and expressed interest in its development in the political, trade, economic and cultural spheres. The cooperation in the transport sector was also stressed. The Turkmen delegation has recently held several business meetings in Tokyo with the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka. JICA has expressed interest in cooperation on social projects.
Georgia Attracts $322.6 Million in Foreign Direct Investments
Foreign direct investments (FDI) in Georgia amounted to $322.6 million in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018 as shown by preliminary data published by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat), Trend reports referring to Agenda.ge. Q3 FDIs were down by 48.2% compared to the adjusted data for Q3 of 2017. The main reasons for the decrease in FDIs is the completed pipeline project, transferring of ownership in some companies from non-resident to resident units and reduction of liabilities to non-resident direct investors”, said Geostat.
The share of FDI by major foreign direct investor countries allocated as follows:
- The Netherlands (15.4%)
- Korea (12.5%)
- Azerbaijan (10.3 %)
The share of FDI by the three major economic sectors reached 48.8% in Q3 2018, allocated in:
- Manufacturing, reaching $56.5 million
- Transports and communications, reaching $54.5 million
- Energy, reaching $46.3 million
Erdogan Ratifies Agreement to Create UN Bank in Turkey
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ratified an agreement to create a bank under the auspices of the UN (International Technology Bank), Trend reports citing the Turkish newspaper Resmi Gazete. The agreement on the bank’s creation was signed Sept. 22, 2017, in New York between Turkey and the UN. The bank will be located in Istanbul, and Turkey plans to allocate $2 million for its creation. The International Technology Bank will support the development of technology in less developed countries. After the bank’s establishment, other countries may also support this financial organization.
Ministry: Poland Hopes for New Investment Projects with Azerbaijan
Poland hopes for new investment projects with Azerbaijan, Poland’s Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology told Trend. “For the first half of 2019, the Poland-Azerbaijan Business Forum is planned. It will accompany the session of the Polish-Azerbaijani economic commission. We hope that these lively contacts will result in new initiatives and investment projects,” said the ministry. Polish-Azerbaijan bilateral economic relations are well regulated by international treaties, according to the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Poland and Azerbaijan have also signed bilateral investment treaty and a treaty for the avoidance of double taxation. Foreign Trade Office of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency was opened in Baku. It supports both Polish entrepreneurs present on the Azerbaijani market and Azerbaijani companies which consider doing invest in Poland. Trade structures of Azerbaijan are also functioning in Poland,” said the ministry.
Uzbekistan, UK Aim Joint Socio-Economic Projects in Afghanistan
Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom are interested in implementing joint socio-economic projects in Afghanistan, Trend reports referring to the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan. The statement was made during the Uzbek-British consultations with the participation of a special representative of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev and United Kingdom Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Gareth Bailey. The sides exchanged views on the development of the situation in Afghanistan and the region, the efforts being made to launch the inter-Afghan negotiation process.
Kazakh, German Enterprises Sign Contracts Worth Over 2 Billion Euros
Over the past four years, enterprises of Kazakhstan and Germany have signed more than twenty contracts worth over 2 billion euros, said Timur Kulibayev, chairman of the Presidium of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Atameken, Trend reports citing the Kazakh media. Kulibayev, who is also a co-chairman of the Kazakh-German Business Council for Strategic Cooperation, made the remarks at the 11th meeting of the Council in Berlin. The Kazakh delegation also included the Kazakh Ambassador to Germany Bolat Nusupov and representatives of national companies and the business community. At the meeting, Kulibayev expressed confidence that all planned projects will be successfully implemented, especially in the light of the tasks to diversify the economy set by the president of Kazakhstan.
(Sources: AzerNews, Caspian News, Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Trend News Agency, and Xinhua Net.)