Caspian Weekly Roundup
Global Energy Demand from Transport to Rise by 40 Percent
In the Base Scenario, global energy demand from transport steadily rises from around 2.7 gigatons of oil equivalent (Gtoe) in 2017 to 3.9 Gtoe in 2050, an overall increase of more than 40 percent, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA says in it’s The Future of Rail report that the largest share of the growth in transport energy demand (both in absolute and relative terms) is in road freight vehicles (including light commercial vehicles and trucks) which, in 2050, consume 600 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) more than today. The next fastest growing transport modes, in terms of energy demand, are shipping and aviation, which in 2050 consume 200 Mtoe and 170 Mtoe more than in 2017, respectively, according to the report. IEA forecasts that rail transport energy use (both passenger and freight) increases from around 53 Mtoe in 2017 to almost 90 Mtoe in 2050, an increase of 72 percent. Rail continues to account for some 2 percent of energy demand in the transport sector.
Oil Prices Edge Lower, Tightening Supply Outlook Supports
Crude oil prices edged lower on Monday after sharp gains during the previous session but were supported by expectations of shrinking supply and signs that China-US trade tensions could ease. International Brent crude oil futures on Monday were down 20 cents, or 0.32 percent at 0339 GMT to $62.54 a barrel, after closing 3.14 percent in the previous session to their highest close since Nov. 21. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $55.13 per barrel, down 13 cents, or 0.24 percent, from their last settlement. WTI settled 2.73 percent higher in the last session at its highest close since Nov. 19.
Azerbaijan Interested in Co-Op with Romania in Gas Exploration Projects
Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has expressed interest in cooperation with Romania’s ROMGAZ company in exploration and production of gas in the Black Sea. Reportedly, ROMGAZ CEO Adrian Volintiru visited Azerbaijan at the invitation of SOCAR officials. During the meeting, the sides discussed Romanian company’s intention to cooperate with SOCAR both on the onshore area of Azerbaijan and on the offshore area in the Caspian Sea.
NCOC Announces Oil Production Volume at Kashagan Field
Since the resumption of production in 2016 until the end of 2018, more than 22.4 million tons of oil was produced at the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan’s sector of the Caspian Sea, the field operator North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) stated. At the same time, the company produced more than 6.5 billion cubic meters of gas and over one million ton of sulfur at Kashagan. “We are making every effort to reach full design capacity of 370,000 barrels per day in the shortest possible time,” NCOC noted.
Turkish Gubretas, SOCAR Turkey Energy to Create JV
Turkish Gubre Fabrikalari TAS (Gubretas) company, engaged in production and marketing of chemical fertilizers and SOCAR Turkey Energy, an affiliate of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR in Turkey, will create a joint venture (JV), with reference to Gubretas. Gubretas announced the signing of a letter of intent to create a joint venture with SOCAR Turkey Energy with a 50 percent share each to import carbamide from SOCAR petrochemical plants and from other manufacturers in the neighboring geography and sell this carbamide in Turkey’s domestic market and in foreign markets, reads the message from Gubretas. SOCAR told Trend News Agency that the memorandum has been signed and it is considered as an initial agreement.
EBRD, GCF Commit Over $50M to Solar Power Plant Construction in Kazakhstan
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) have committed $50.4 million for the construction of a new 50MW solar power plant in the south of Kazakhstan, the EBRD said in a message.
SOCAR Turkey Planning to Increase Alternative Energy Production
SOCAR Turkey plans to increase energy production at the Petkim wind power plant to 200 gigawatt-hour, Director General of SOCAR Turkey Zaur Gahramanov said in an interview. He noted that this will be possible after the launch of 17 wind turbines.
Azerbaijani Soldiers Train with NATO in Georgia
A group of Azerbaijani servicemen are currently attending NATO’s Basic Mountain Training Winter Courses at Sachkhere Mountain Training School. The program is held as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and includes servicemen from other NATO partner states, including Lithuania, Belarus, and Georgia. Their military representatives are practicing winter skills like skiing, avalanche search and rescue, and making snow shelters.
Diplomatic Institutions of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Moldova Sign Memorandum of Understanding
The Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA), the Hennadii Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine, and National Diplomatic Institute of Moldova signed a memorandum of cooperation on Monday. The institutions’ representatives were holding the first meeting of diplomatic institutions of GUAM countries in Kyiv. The meeting, along with the memorandum, are meant to lay the groundwork for future cooperation and exchange.
Slovenia Seeks Closer Ties with Kazakhstan
President of Slovenia Borut Pahor has invited Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Slovenia and hopes to develop a strong relationship with Kazakhstan. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Marjan Sarec made similar statements in meeting with Kazakhstan’s diplomatic representatives, saying that Slovenia’s foreign policy priorities aligned with those of Kazakhstan. Potential areas of cooperation have also been discussed between the Kazakh and Slovenian Chambers of Commerce and the local officials of Ljubljana and Astana.
U.S. and Kazakhstan Prepare to Sign Aviation Agreement
The U.S. and Kazakhstan will soon sign an agreement on air traffic based on the ‘open sky’ principle, meaning each will have the opportunity to fly in each other’s air space. This agreement opens the door for direct flights between the two countries, which Air Astana will begin providing in 2020.
Russian Foreign Minister to Visit Turkmenistan
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov will visit Ashgabat from February 5-6. Minister Lavrov plans to meet with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov. They will discuss Turkmenistan’s priorities as 2019 chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and sign an agreement of cooperation. This visit is the last leg of a three-country tour. Minister Lavrov is also visiting Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Turkmenistan Begins Process for Additional Parliamentary Elections
The process for nominating candidates for Turkmenistan’s parliament began on January 30 and will continue until the end of February. The election will then be held on March 31. These elections are to fill seats left behind by members of parliament who retired since the last election in 2018.
Council of Permanent Plenipotentiary Representatives of the CIS Member States Meets
The Council of Permanent Plenipotentiary Representatives of the CIS Member States held their first meeting of the year in Minsk on January 29 to commemorate Turkmenistan’s assumption of the chairmanship and draft an agenda for the Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April. The April meeting will cover a wide range of issues, including preserving war graves and military monuments, cooperating in humanitarian issues, and fighting transnational crime.
Azerbaijan First Among CIS Countries in Global Talent Competitiveness Index
Azerbaijan ranked 43rd in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2019, improving its position by 14 pillars compared to the previous report. In the report, Azerbaijan ranked first among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Iran-Turkmenistan Trade Turnover Surpasses $300 Million
An Iranian diplomat has said that trade between Iran and Turkmenistan between the start of the Iranian year (March 21, 2018) to January 2019 was $312 million. “The trade turnover between the two countries in the last ten months was $312 million, of which $305 million worth of [Iran’s] exports, and seven million dollars were imported from the neighboring country,” Iran’s economic attaché to Turkmenistan, Rahmatollah Khormali, told the Islamic Republic News Agency on January 26.
Uzbekistan Improves Position in OECD Credit Risks Classification
Uzbekistan improved its position and moved to the fifth group in the updated classification of OECD country credit risks. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) classification of country credit risks was updated on February 1.
Trade Turnover Between China, Uzbekistan Breaks Record
The trade turnover between China and Uzbekistan set a new record by passing the mark of $6.4 billion last year. Jin Yulong, advisor on trade and economic issues of the Embassy of China in Uzbekistan, spoke about new realities of economic cooperation between two countries. She said that Uzbekistan has every chance of becoming the main supplier of agricultural products to China.
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan to Mull Expansion of Co-Op in Cargo Transit
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will discuss expansion of cooperation in the field of cargo transit along the East-West transport corridor. For this purpose, Azerbaijan’s delegation headed by Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev will be in Uzbekistan Feb. 4-5.
EBRD Ready to Invest in Climate Finance Projects in Azerbaijan
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) would like to invest in climate finance projects in Azerbaijan, Head of EBRD Baku office Ivana Duarte noted in an interview. Duarte noted that EBRD will be ready to look at bankable projects across a variety of sectors with focus on diversification of economy.
Turkmenistan, EU Discuss Transit Corridor via Azerbaijan to Europe
A meeting with the Special Representative of the European Union for Central Asia, Peter Burian, was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. The parties discussed the initiatives of Turkmenistan and Romania on the construction of the “Caspian Sea-Black Sea” transport-transit corridor through the “Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania” route, the report states.
Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia Intern to Launch Joint Production of Textiles
Uztextileprom Association discussed the implementation of joint investment projects in Uzbek textile industry with the delegation of Saudi Arabian Corporation Ajlan & Bros on January 24, 2019, according to the press service of Association.
(Sources: Azernews, Azertac, Bloomberg, Caspian News, Central Election Commission of Turkmenistan, Kazinform, and Trend News Agency.)