Caspian Weekly Roundup
BP Discovers Another Giant Gas Field in the Caspian
BP and its partners just spent $28 billion bringing a giant natural gas project in Azerbaijan online, and that may only be the start. The British oil major intends to drill six new exploration wells in the country by 2020, according to Gary Jones, BP’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. If his expectations are met, the company could find a new gas play that’s about the same size as Shah Deniz, its project that produces the fuel from a field in the Caspian Sea that’s as large as Manhattan. “It’s a very significant exploration program for us, which demonstrates the confidence and the role that we see in the Caspian,” Jones said in an interview.
Italy Formally States TAP to go into Operation by 2020
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will be ready to deliver natural gas via the Southern Gas Corridor mega-pipeline project to Europe by 2020, according to the “Proposal for an Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate” (PNIEC) that was released by Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development last week and sent to the European Commission. “TAP, which will allow the import of approximately 8.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Italy, with the possibility of expanding to 10 billion cubic meters per year, will be put into operation by 2020,” reads a line from PNIEC, published on Thursday.
Azerbaijan Discloses Date of Next SGC Advisory Council Meeting
The 5th meeting of the Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor will be held on February 20 in Baku, the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry told Trend. “Representatives of the countries and companies involved in the Southern Gas Corridor project, as well as a number of international organizations are expected to attend the meeting,” the ministry said.
EBRD Invests in Modern Power Generation in Uzbekistan
A power supply in south Uzbekistan will be significantly improved thanks to the construction of the additional generation capacity at existing Talimarjan power plant with the help of a $240 million sovereign loan provided by the EBRD to JSC Uzbekenergo. The project will be the largest EBRD investment in Uzbekistan to date. The project will be co-financed with the Asian Development Bank and the Uzbek Fund for Reconstruction and Development.
Caspian Pipeline Consortium Exports 61.1 Million Tons of Oil in 2018, Sees 11 Percent Rise in 2019
Crude oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium pipeline reached 61.1 million tons in 2018, up 5.98 million tons on a year earlier, the consortium said on Thursday. Oil from Kazakhstan accounted for 54.3 million tons, with the rest coming from Russia, according to the consortium’s data. The Kazakh oil included 28.7 million tons from Tengiz, 10.3 million tons from Karachaganak and 13.2 million tons from Kashagan, the data showed. The pipeline expects to export 67.7 million tons of CPC Blend oil in 2019 based on producers’ requests for this year, according to its Chief Executive Nikolai Gorban.
Kazakhstan Announces Oil Transportation Price Hikes for Russia
Kazakhstan has revised its tariffs on transporting Russian oil to China through its pipelines, which are now the cheapest route to export oil and its derived products. Kazakhstan’s largest oil transporter, KazTransOil, announced last week the government’s intent to raise transit fees by a third. “The cost of transporting Russian oil […] is approved at a rate of $15 per ton, excluding VAT,” reads a statement posted to the company’s website. Prior to the fee hike and from 2017 through 2018, the figure amounted to $11.36 per ton, excluding a value-added tax (VAT). The new rate has been approved by Kazakhstan’s energy ministry and is locked in for the next five years. It covers what is estimated to be about 10 million tons of oil per year that passes through a pipeline stretching from the Russian border with Kazakhstan and continues onwards to China.
Georgia Celebrates National Flag Day
Georgia marked the day of its national flag on January 14. The current national flag was officially introduced on January 14, 2004. The flag was used by the Georgian patriotic movement following the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
OSCE to Hold LOC Monitoring between Azerbaijani, Armenian Troops
The Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, in accordance with its mandate, plans to conduct the next ceasefire monitoring on the line of contact (LOC) between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops January 15 in the Terter district, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said in a message on January 14. The Personal Representative’s field assistants Ghenadie Petrica and Martin Schuster will carry out the monitoring from the territory of Azerbaijan. The Personal Representative’s field assistants Michael Olaru and Simon Tiller will carry out the monitoring on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan occupied and controlled by the armed forces of Armenia.
Azerbaijan and South Korea Sign Framework Agreement
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economy and Korea’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan signed a Framework Agreement on Grant Assistance on Monday. The agreement lays out a vision for continued cooperation in technical assistance between the two countries.
Turkey, U.S. to Discuss Delivery of Patriot Surface-to-Air Missiles
Turkey and the U.S. will discuss the terms of delivery of the Patriot surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). In order to discuss the delivery, the U.S. delegation will visit Ankara on January 15, 2018. The U.S. delegation is expected to meet with Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, reports said. Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey may buy the Patriot SAMs, provided that the U.S. won’t insist on the rejection of buying the S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
Putin Intends to Have Constructive Teamwork with Armenia’s Prime Minister
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his congratulatory messages to newly appointed Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Kremlin press service reports that in his message, President Putin emphasized the relationship of the two nations that is based on “good traditions of friendship and mutual respect”. Russian President also expressed his hopes that further strengthening of bilateral relations will take place through dialogue and constructive teamwork.
Kazakhstan Reports Forty-Seven Citizens Evacuated from Syria
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on January 6th that forty-seven citizens of Kazakhstan, including thirty children, had been evacuated. President Nazarbaev described these people as “deceived” into going to Syria and then “held hostage” by terrorists there.
Azerbaijan Purchases Kamikaze Drone from Israel
Azerbaijan purchased an Israeli Sky Striker fully autonomous loitering munitions system. The Sky Striker is a 77lb (35 kg) unmanned aerial vehicle whose defining feature is its electrical engines, which allow it to make very little noise relative to its predecessors. It can fly at about 115 mph for up to two hours. Azerbaijan is the first country outside of Israel to operate a Sky Striker.
Kazakhstan Names New Ambassador to Iran
Kazakhstan has selected Askhat Orazbai as its new ambassador to Iran. Ambassador Orazbai was previously posted in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Russia Designing Longer Range Cruise Missiles
Russia is reportedly modifying its Kalibr Cruise Missiles to increase their range from around 1,500 miles to 3,000 miles. These Kalibr-M missiles would be used to hit land-based targets from sea. Kalibr missiles fly at low altitudes to avoid detection and reach subsonic speeds.
China Allowing Ethnic Kazakhs to Leave the Country
Chinese officials are permitting more than 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs to abandon their Chinese citizenship and leave the country. China’s detention of ethnic minorities in its western provinces, like Kazakhs and Uyghurs, has been a sensitive subject for Kazakhstan. State-controlled media has remained largely silent on the issue, but pressure from activists has been mounting. The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said that those released from China would be allowed to apply for Kazakh citizenship or residency after they arrive in the country.
Azerbaijan-Armenia Meeting Date Announced
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will meet with Armenia’s acting Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in Paris on January 16. The meeting is a mediation facilitated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs: Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the U.S. The meeting will focus on the conflict’s negotiation process.
Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan may lay Fiber-Optic Cable across Caspian
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan may lay the Siyazan-Turkmenbashi fiber-optic cable line through the Caspian Sea, according to referring to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies on January 10. This issue was discussed at a trilateral meeting in Baku between representatives of the corresponding ministries of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.
Afghanistan’s Importance for Connectivity Stressed at India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan
Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said at the India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan on January 13 that Afghanistan can provide the most cost-effective transit routes, as he highlighted the country’s importance for connecting the region. The first India-Central Asia Dialogue focused on regional issues, including enhancing connectivity to war-ravaged Afghanistan. “Afghanistan can provide the most cost-effective transit routes, serving as a hub for energy supplies including from Central Asia to the energy markets of South Asia,” Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Rabbani said.
Azerbaijani President Decrees to Establish Azersilah OJSC
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree to establish the Azersilah Open Joint Stock Company on January 14. The company is being established on the basis of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry.
Azerbaijan, Turkey to Jointly Produce Means of Communication
Azerbaijan and Turkey have agreed on the joint production of various means of communication, according to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry on January 14. The agreement was reached during a visit of the delegation of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry to one of the leading Turkish defense industry companies, ASELSAN. A meeting of the delegation with the heads of the company was organized. During the meeting, the significance of the projects implemented by the enterprises of the ministry and ASELSAN was stressed. In conclusion, an agreement on the joint production of means of communication was signed between the Cihaz Production Association of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry and ASELSAN.
EBRD Appoints New Regional Director for the Caucasus
Catarina Bjorlin Hansen has been appointed as the EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus and will assume her new role based in Tbilisi on April 1, 2019. She replaces Bruno Balvanera who has been named EBRD Managing Director for Central Asia. In her new position, Hansen will lead the Bank’s operations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and help to further develop their economies through investment, policy engagement, small business advice, and support for reforms.
Azerbaijan to Launch Green Corridor Access System
Green corridor pass system will be applied in Azerbaijan for participants of foreign trade operations by February 1, 2019. A meeting dedicated to granting the right to permanent use of the Green Corridor pass system, suspension, cancellation and restoration of this right, was attended by the deputy chairmen of the State Customs Committee, Chiefs of Directorates, Representatives of the Center for Communication and Analysis of Economic Reforms, and representatives of the World Bank and U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan.
Turkmenistan Attracts Investments for Production of Mineral Fertilizers
In order to bring Turkmenistan among the world leaders in the export of chemical products, it is necessary to attract investments for the construction of new enterprises and the modernization of existing ones, referring to the speech of the President of the country Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov published in the local media during the working meeting. The President instructed to expand the range of products of the state,”Turkmenkhimiya,” by inculcating advanced technologies.
Georgian TBC Bank Plans to Enter Uzbek Market
Chief Financial Officer of TBC bank Giorgi Shagidze said that the current reforms in Uzbekistan resemble those of Georgia. “We went through this and gained very strong knowledge and capabilities that we can bring to the Uzbek market. We can act as a catalyst for the Uzbek banking sector,” he said. TBC plans to enter the Uzbek market with its digital neobank – Space – launched last summer as a mobile service with no branches. Space provides customers with a wide range of retail banking services, including lending, savings products, and payment cards.
(Sources: Azernews, Azertag, Caspian News, KazInform, RFE/RL, the New York Post, Newz.Az, Popular Mechanics, the Times of Central Asia, TASS, Trend News Agency, and World Oil.)