Caspian Weekly Roundup
First commercial gas deliveries to Turkey have commenced within the Southern Gas Corridor
The deliveries have just begun according to said Afgan Isayev, the General Director of Azerbaijan’s Southern Gas Corridor CJSC. A ceremony to launch Phase 0 of TANAP took place June 12 in the Turkish city of Eskisehir. TANAP, together with Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which provides for the transportation of gas from the Azerbaijani field Shah Deniz to Europe. The initial capacity of TANAP is expected to be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. About six billion cubic meters will be supplied to Turkey, and the rest to Europe. After completion of the TAP, the gas will reach Europe in early 2020.
Azerbaijani Investors Invited by Montenegro to Take Part in Solar Plant Construction
Azerbaijani investors have been welcomed into Montenegro’s energy field, as reported by the Economy Minister of Montenegro Dragica Sekulic on July 9. Current cooperation surrounds the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline; however, due to Montenegro’s positive experiences with Azerbaijani tourism companies, they have offered them the ability to expand investments into the field of energy. Sekulic has eyes on the rivers of Morač and Komarnica, and is hoping Azerbaijan invests in the planned construction of a solar power plant holding more than 200 megawatts.
Uzbekistan Creates a Draft Timeline for Nuclear Power Plant
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a discussion on July 10 to address the need for a dramatic increase in electricity levels. The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom agreed to assist the construction of a nuclear power plant which will hold two power units with a capacity of 1 thousand 200 megawatts each. Billions of cubic meters of natural gas will be saved, and over $500 million will flow into Uzbekistan every year. President Mirziyoyev discussed the organization, technical, and safety aspects of the plant at the meeting. Uzbekistan plans on continuing their compliance with IAEA requirements and international acts, as well as the future creation of a new organization at the Cabinet of Ministers to coordinate all activities.
Kazakhstan Offered an Additional $650 Million Prepayment by Vitol for Oil
It was released on July 4 that Vitol, a major European trader, is looking to increase their agreed upon prepayment by a minimum of $650 million to finance the Kasghagan oilfield for its cash-for-oil deal. The earliest it could be signed with Kazakhstan’s state energy firm is this week, which will confirm Vitol’s prepayment for Kashagan to equal approximately $2.25 billion. Vitol has been heavily involved in Kazakh oil exports for over a decade, primarily dealing with Russian ports and sending them to European refineries.
President Aliyev approves agreements between SOCAR and Equinor
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev approved the agreements signed on May 30, 2018 between Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and Norwegian Equinor [formerly Statoil]. The first agreement is a risk-service agreement on the Karabakh field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, while the second agreement – a production sharing and exploration agreement on the Dan Ulduzu, Ashrafi and Aypara promising structures. The agreements envisage a 50/50 share distribution.
Mayor of Azerbaijan City Wounded During Country’s Blackout
The mayor of Azerbaijan’s second-largest city fell under attack on July 3, during the blackouts the country witnessed. The press service of Ganja Executive Power has informed the public that the mayor of Ganja, Elmar Veliyev, is in a stable condition; consequently, Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor-General’s Office, the Interior Ministry, and the State Security Service have established a joint team to investigate the armed attack on the mayor and his bodyguard.
New Turkish Cabinet Chosen by President Erdoğan and Sworn in Following Day
President Erdoğan announced his new 16-seat surprise cabinet on July 9 — hours after he swore into office. Due to Turkey’s transition to an executive presidency, Turkish ministers will now report directly to the President instead of reporting to parliament. Some had to resign from parliament to join the new cabinet, as all new cabinet members swore in on July 10. They are currently preparing for the first cabinet meeting planned for July 13 following Erdoğan’s return from the NATO Summit.
Tashkent will host a discussion for a UN Special Resolution
On July 12, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan will be overseeing a round table discussion focused on the significance of the United Nations General Assembly resolution regarding development of the Central Asian region. In attendance will be members of the Senate, relevant ministries, heads of diplomatic missions of foreign countries, and many other relevant institutions. Notable topics will include the socio-economic consequences associated with the drying up of the Aral Sea, organization of a modern transport system and transit in the region and strengthening security in Central Asia.
Azerbaijan, Armenia to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh in Brussels
Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on July 11, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hikmet Hajiyev said Monday. “The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, with the mediation of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, will meet on July 11, 2018, in Brussels. The personal representative of the (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk will also participate in the meeting,” Hajiyev told Russian news agency RIA. The spokesperson said the two sides are going to discuss the issue of Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Kazakhstan Opens Astana International Financial Center in Hopes to Become Eurasian Finance Hub
The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) took center stage as it went live on July 5. Despite holding hopes of becoming the Eurasian finance hub, the world will have to wait approximately a decade until witnessing any success of Kazakhstan’s new financial center. There are some worries surrounding the promising endeavor, such as the small population of the country itself, as well as its neighboring countries’ lack of rigorous economic reforms. Venture capital invest Tim Draper is positive, though, and says that Kazakhstan is starting a virtual government that will provide better safety nets and taxation for the region.
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan Banks Sign Cooperation Agreement
The Central Bank of Uzbekistan and the National Bank of Kazakhstan have come to a consensus on banking supervision as of July 10. The Chairman of the Kazakh National Bank, Daniya Akishev, reported “the exchange of information [would] open bank subsidiaries in Uzbekistan.” The information being transferred would involve substantial innovations that currently impact the banking sectors between the two signatories.
World Trade Organization and Turkmenistan Meet in Geneva
Turkmenistan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Serdar Berdimuhamedov traveled to Geneva, Switzerland on July 6 to discuss energy, transport, investment, intellectual property, environment, and Turkmenistan’s membership in international organizations. Berdimuhamedov attended meetings with the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Robert Azeveda, as well as United Nations (UN) Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi and others.
(Source: Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor-General’s Government Website, Azer News, Caspian Policy Center, Daily Sabah, Hurriyet Daily News, Kazinform, Reuters, Trend, Uzbekistan National News Agency)