Media Highlights of the Week
Energy & Economy
Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition Puts Spotlight on Azerbaijan
Government officials and energy experts gathered in Baku this week for the 26th annual International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference, to highlight the growing significance of Azerbaijan and the Greater Caspian Region in global energy security. The four-day exhibition, which runs from May 29 through June 1, brought 290 companies — mainly oil and gas enterprises and service providers — from 34 countries including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Turkey.
UzAtom Announces “Priority Site” for Planned Nuclear Power Plant
UzAtom published a press release on May 31 which named the survey location near Tuzkan Lake in the Jizzakh Region as a “priority site” for the nuclear power plant planned as a joint project between Uzbekistan and RosAtom. This reflects a departure from the picture previously presented by the media, where it was suggested that a site in the Navoi region had been selected as the project location.
Nearly 120 Million Tons of Crude Oil Piped from Kazakhstan to China
China has reportedly imported 119 million tons of crude oil via the China-Kazakhstan pipeline since it opened in 2006. Since the beginning of this year, China has imported 3.7 million tons of oil from Kazakhstan with a value of more than $1.5 billion.
Uzbek Airport of Bukhara Becomes Best in CIS Countries
International Civil Aviation Organization of the United Nations recognized the Bukhara air harbor in Uzbekistan as the best airport in the CIS countries in 2018. Moreover, Director of Bukhara Airport Takhir Bakhronov was elected as the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization of the CIS countries.
Kazakhstan Modernizes its Railway Fleet Thanks to French Locomotives
Kazakhstan’s national railway is poised to get an upgrade. France’s leading transportation engineering company Alstom is contracted to build 199 premium electric passenger locomotives for Kazakhstan’s national railway company, Temir Zholy. According to the deal, Alstom will design and manufacture 119 units of Prima M4 KZ4AT passenger locomotives, as well as construct and provide maintenance for 302 units of Prima T8 KZ8A freight locomotives.
Trans-Caspian Backbone Project Agreement Approved
The intergovernmental agreement on laying the fiber-optic backbone cable line through the bottom of the Caspian Sea, between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, was recently approved by the Government of Kazakhstan. The Trans-Caspian backbone project envisages the creation of a digital telecommunication corridor (Digital Silk Road) between Europe and Asia. The purpose of the project is to create a digital corridor that will pass through Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, from Europe to China, thus transmitting Internet traffic to Central Asia and China.
Central Bank of Uzbekistan Plans Innovations in Payment Systems
A project on payments and payment systems that will ensure the solution of tasks related to legal, technical, and technological support of payment systems is to be developed in accordance with the resolution of the president of Uzbekistan. According to the Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of Uzbekistan B. Zakhidov, it is necessary to improve the regulatory issues and regulatory support of payment systems. Another task is to create an interbank system of remote customer identification with the ability to integrate with an interdepartmental integration platform of e-government.
Security & Politics
Nine Dead in Afghanistan After Failed Truce Calls
A bus bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan killed two people and injured twenty-four others on June 2. The bus, headed to Kabul Education University, injured members of the security forces, as well as journalists. In the surrounding area, two roadside bombs were detonated within 20 minutes of the first attack. The attack is currently being attributed to the Taliban.
Russian Security Forces Continue to Make Trips to Dushanbe
On May 28, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu paid a visit to Tajikistan. Shoigu’s visit came exactly a week after the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, trod a similar path to Dushanbe for talks with Tajik leaders. The visits underscore the importance Russia places, in security terms, on Tajikistan. According to TASS, Shoigu was expected to discuss modernization plans for the Tajik armed forces and Russia’s 201st Military Base.
Kazakhstan Welcomes International Observation of Presidential Election
Kazakhstan has provided the necessary conditions for the work of international observers of the early presidential election in Kazakhstan, according to the CIS observation mission’s interim report. The CIS observers have been monitoring the election campaign since May 20. The report notes that the mission is acting freely and independently in line with Kazakhstan’s law and without interfering in the electoral process and internal affairs of the state.
Turkmenistan Working to Connect Caspian and the Black Sea Regions
According to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan is actively working together with Azerbaijan to effectively connect the regions of Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, and the Black Sea. “In essence, an extensive, integrated transport network is being formed, covering huge continental space,” the Turkmen president said.
(Sources: AKIpress, AzerNews, AZTV, Caspian Sunrise, Daily Sabah, Deutsche Welle, Eurasianet, Financial Times, Georgia Today, Kazakh Ministry of Defense, New York Times, Reuters, RFE/RL, TASS, Trend News Agency, UzAtom, Uzbekgidroenergo, World Oil, and Xinhua Net.)