Media Highlights of the Week
Energy & Economy
Lukoil and KazMunayGaz Sign Agreement on Caspian Offshore Oil Exploration
The heads of Lukoil and KazMunayGaz participated in a signing ceremony on June 7 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to ink a Heads of Agreement on the joint development of Kazakhstan’s I-P-2 block. The latter is located 80 miles offshore in the Kazakh zone of the Caspian Sea, with the depth of the water ranging from 1000 to 1300 feet.
Pakistan Seeks Renegotiation of TAPI Gas Price
Pakistan is reportedly seeking renegotiation of the gas price for fuel to be delivered via the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. According to a June 8 article in The News International, a senior official has confirmed that Pakistan is making renegotiations a precondition for the start of construction on TAPI in Pakistani territory.
Kashagan Oilfield in Kazakhstan Produces Record-Breaking Output
Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oilfield reached a new record for output last week, achieving production of 400,000 barrels per day. Two unnamed industry source, cited by Reuters, indicated that output at the field may rise even further to 410,000 barrels per day in the near future.
Iran Hosting 18th Caspian Sea Littoral States ICBC Meeting
The 18th meeting of the International Council of Business Cooperation (ICBC) of the Caspian Sea littoral states reportedly kicked off on June 10 in the northern city of Sari. Russian media highlighted that the need for developing infrastructure as a prerequisite for expansion of economic cooperation among the Caspian Sea nations.
EU Allocates Funds for HPP Construction in Tajikistan
The seventh meeting of the Tajikistan-EU Cooperation Committee and the second meeting of the Cooperation Sub-Committee were held in Dushanbe on June 6. To improve the well-being of vulnerable populations by providing them with electricity, the EU awarded a 20 million euros grant to support the Sebzor HPP construction in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).
Security and Politics
Azerbaijan and Turkey Begin Joint Drills
Five thousand soldiers, 200 tanks and armored vehicles, and 21 warplanes and helicopters from Turkey and Azerbaijan began live-fire drills in Nakhchivan on June 9. The exercises aim to “increase the level of professionalism of the military personnel and to achieve coordination of the interoperability of the military units of Azerbaijan and Turkey,” according to a statement from the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
Kazakhstan Elects Tokayev President
Interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was formally elected on June 9 with 70.76 percent of the vote. The election recorded a 77 percent turnout.
Rouhani to Visit Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will travel to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on June 13 for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. He will then visit Tajikistan for the 5th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) from June 14-15.
CIS Countries Agree on Military Cooperation Plans
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) agreed on plans to develop military cooperation, including holding joint drills, according to Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu. The agreement was reached at a meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS countries in Anapa.
Xi Jinping Preparing for Tour of Central Asia
Chinese President Xi Jinping will tour Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to boost bilateral ties with the countries and promote the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He will also endorse the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which will be held in Dushanbe. President Xi will be in Kyrgyzstan from June 12-14 and attend the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO. Then, from June 14-16, President Xi will be in Dushanbe for the fifth summit of CICA. President Xi will meet with the Kyrgyz and Tajik heads of state and work on the BRI and work on cooperation and discuss international and regional issues in the context of the SCO.
(Sources: Agenda.ge, Al Jazeera, AzerNews, Bloomberg, Canberra Times, Eurasianet, Hellenic Shipping News, Iran Front Page, Lukoil.com, MZMC, Offshore Energy Today, Offshore Engineer, PanArmenian.net, ProduceReport, New York Times, News.Am, Reuters, Tajikistan News, Tehran Times, The News International, Reuters, and Xinhua.)