Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eurasian News this week

Russia - Russia decided on Thursday to halt premium petrol exports and switch the flow to the home market to fight shortages and a price rise that is coinciding with growing voter discontent. Government official said the ban would apply for the month of May alone and only cover high octane petrol (gasoline) sold at the highest prices. This is an reaction on the current gasoline shortage that already prevails for several days in a number of Russian region. Since last weekend there is a risk that gas stations in more than 20 regions of Russia do not have enough fuel to sell to their customers. The reason for the supply problems is, according to Russian media that the government has urged oil companies in February to lower their prices for petrol and diesel on the Russian market. However, this made it more profitable for oil companies to export the fuel instead of selling it to independent stations in Russia.

Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan extended the ban on exports of some petroleum products till July 1, 2011, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov said on Friday. The ban on exports of light oil products was introduced by the Government of Kazakhstan in order to provide fuel for consumers in the domestic market in May 2010. Kazakhstan has three refineries and about 30 mini-refineries. There is a monthly average of 240-250 thousand tons of gasoline, 340-350 thousand tons of diesel oil and 40-45 thousand tonnes of jet fuel.

China-Turkmenistan - China agreed Tuesday to lend Turkmenistan $4.1 billion in return for future supplies of gas. The money would be used "to develop the country's biggest gas field, Southern Yolotan-Osman, and to increase the export potential of Turkmengaz," added a company official, Achir Aliev. The gas field, located in the east of the former Soviet republic believed to hold the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, contains some 21,000 billion cubic meters of the commodity. Turkmengaz, the China Development Bank and PetroChina have also signed a deal to "guarantee deliveries of Turkmen gas to China", Aliev said.

China-Tajikistan - A Chinese company will build a 270-megawatt combined heat and power (CHP) plant in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. The company, Tebian Electronic Apparatus Stock Company Limited (TBEA), will build the $200 million plant in the Luchob area of the capital. The first two lines of the plant will begin operations in 2013.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Нефтяникам разрешили поднять цены на бензин в обмен на запрет экспорта" (Russia allows oil companies to raise gasoline prices in exchange for a ban on exports)

"Россия прекратит экспорт бензина ради внутреннего рынка" (Russia will stop exporting gasoline for the sake of domestic market)

"Казахстан продлил запрет на экспорт ряда нефтепродуктов" (Kazakhstan extended the ban on exports of some petroleum products)

"Газ в обмен на деньги. Китай дает Туркмении $4 млрд долларов в счет будущих поставок" (Gas in exchange for money. China gives Turkmenistan $4 billion gas credit)

"Китай построит ТЭЦ в Таджикистане" (China to build power station in Tajikistan)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Central Asian news this week: Uzbekistan-China ties deepened

China and Uzbekistan on Wednesday vowed to deepen security cooperation within multilateral frameworks for the lasting peace, stability and common development in the region and the world at large. The two countries made the announcement in the China-Uzbekistan Joint Statement, which was issued during Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov's two-day state visit in China, upon which the two sides signed more than 25 bilateral cooperative agreements.

Beijing agrees to invest more than $ 5 billion in the Uzbek economy, not only in the traditional energy sector, but also in banking, as well as in infrastructure development. Leading Chinese banks agreed to open credit lines worth $1.5 billion to four Uzbek banks to help implement various investment projects. The two countries also agreed to construct the Uzbek spur of the Central Asia-China natural gas pipeline, which will allow Uzbekistan to supply an extra 25 billion cubic metres annually to China. On company level, Uzbek state-owned oil and gas company Uzbekneftegaz has signed a deal with Chinese real estate and gas conglomerate Xinjiang Guanghi Industry Investment Group to transport liquefied national gas (LNG) to China and Kazakhstan, the Chinese firm announced on Tuesday. The deal signed on Saturday stipulates that the two firms will jointly transport 600 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas from Uzbekistan.

Moreover, China and Uzbekistan have signed a 700 million yuan bilateral currency swap deal. The People's Bank of China said the 700 million yuan deal was aimed at boosting trade between the two countries. Also, Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed support for Uzbek accession to the World Trade Organization, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. And Karimov defended China's positions on Taiwan, Tibet and other territorial issues.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Президент Узбекистана прибыл в Китай" (President of Uzbekistan visits China)

"Китай и Узбекистан намерены продвигать дальнейшее развитие двухсторонних отношений" (China and Uzbekistan plan to promote further development of bilateral relations)

"Китайский триумф Ислама Каримова" (The Chinese triumph of Islam Karimov)

"Китайские банки предоставили Узбекистану кредитные линии на сумму $1,5 млрд" (Chinese banks agreed to open credit lines worth $1.5 billion to four Uzbek banks)

"Uzbekneftegaz, Chinese conglomerate sign gas delivery deal"

"Центробанки Узбекистана и Китая подписали валютное своп-соглашение" (Central Bank of Uzbekistan and China signed a currency swap agreement)

"乌兹别克斯坦和中国商定建设对华输气管道三期工程" (Uzbekistan and China agreed to build the third-stage gas pipeline project)

"乌兹别克斯坦称与中国签署50多亿美元的投资协议" (Uzbekistan and China signed more than 50 billion dollars investment agreement)

"Китай поддерживает узбеков в ВТО, дает 1,5 млрд. кредита" (China supports Uzbek WTO accession, giving 1.5 bln credits)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Russian and Central Asian News This Week

Moscow - On March 30, at a meeting of the commission on modernization in Magnitogorsk Dmitry Medvedev made several proposals for improving the investment climate in Russia, which he described as "very bad". First and foremost, on the eve of the season of annual shareholder meetings the president demanded "eliminating the excessive influence of state-owned companies on the investment climate" and instructed the government to remove from the boards of directors all deputy prime ministers and ministers.

On Apr. 11th, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has been the first to act on Russian President Medvedev's instruction on the replacement of government officials on the boards of large companies co-owned by the state with independent directors. Without waiting for shareholders' meetings Igor Sechin resigned on Monday evening as the chairman of the board of directors of the state-owned company Rosneft and revoked the intention to seek a seat on a new board. However, Analysts and investors predicted his departure would do little to change Russia's biggest oil company. on Friday on the sidelines of a meeting, Rosneft's CEO Eduard Khudainatov said that "Sechin will keep control, and I believe he will even strengthen it."

Moscow - Russia does not seek exclusive influence over Central Asia and is not worried by other world powers trying to advance their interests in the region, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Wednesday. "Russia is not laying claim to any exclusive role in Central Asian affairs and is open to cooperation with other states, including on a competitive basis," Karasin said. However, Moscow "acts on the premise that Russia's traditional strategic interests in this region should be fully ensured, and the actions of other players should be predictable and transparent," he added. Interesting enough, comparing the Russian version and English version of this press release, one can sense the difference in emphases and tones. In the Russian version, the article highlghts Russia's vested interests in the region, while in the English version article, Russia's support of broad international cooperation in the region is given more attention and space.

China - Medvedev arrived in China on Wednesday for a four-day visit that will see him attend a BRICS summit and push for Russia's economic integration into the Asia Pacific region. Ahead of this visit, Medvedev said in an interview with China Central Television that he expects bilateral trade to reach $100 billion in the near future. During his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Medvedev said - "Our countries are strategic partners, which allows us to coordinate policies in international relations. We are also partners in economic, political and other spheres. I believe that today we can make the next step in the deepening of partnership." "We had an extensive exchange of views on topical issues, "- Hu said. In particular, Medvedev said on Thursday that Russia and China should increase their efforts to get agreement this year on the basic principles of Russian gas supplies to China. Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation have set up a working group to discuss the commercial and technical terms of a Russian gas supply contract. From Saturday to Sunday, the Russian president visited Hongkong and said Russia wants to boost investment and trade with Hong Kong to give Russian companies more presence in the area and use it as a gateway to mainland China. Medvedev's landmark China trip has been widely interpreted as to trade energy for investment. “He will try to make China a source of investment and technology, not just a vacuum cleaner for Russian resources,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, an analyst at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow.

Tashkent - Officials of special services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) gathered in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent on Wednesday for two days of talks on fighting terrorism. The conference is co-organized by the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terror Structure (RATS), a permanent acting agency of the SCO headquartered in Tashkent. The participants vowed to step up regular meetings of various bodies of SCO member nations to exchange intelligence and strengthen cooperation in the fight against what they see as their three main threats: terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov will pay an official visit to China on April 19-20, Uzbek national news agency reported on Saturday. From 2005 to 2010, bilateral trade volume between China and Uzbekistan rose from $ 680 million to $ 2.47 billion, i.e. 3,6 times. Uzbekistan's exports to China grew from $ 450 million to $ 1.299 billion in 2010, i.e. 2.88 times.

Astana - China’s Sinopec Tenth Construction has begun building a 500,000 tonnes-per-year aromatics facility at Kazakhstan’s Atyrau oil refinery, the Platts news portal reported, citing a report by Sinopec Group. Sinopec Engineering was awarded the $1.04-billion contract to build the facility in 2009. The facility, which is scheduled to come online in 2013, will produce up to 133,000 mt/year of benzene and 496,000 mt/year of paraxylene, Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunaiGas said in 2009.

Obama and Nazarbayev met on Monday and Nazarbayev granted the United States new over-flight rights for the resupply of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. In addition to agreeing on a new air route to ship military cargo through Kazakhstan into Afghanistan, Obama and Nazarbayev signed agreements on economic cooperation between the two countries and discussed the human rights situation in Kazakhstan.

Ashgabat - Turkmenistan's export revenues of natural and liquefied gas, oil products and polypropylene combined soared 250 percent year-on-year for the January to March 2011 period. The government said total exports in the first quarter of this year exceeded $1.7 billion. Its exports of natural gas surged 87.9 percent in the first quarter 2011 compared with the same quarter last year. Turkmenistan aims to ratchet up crude output from current levels of around 11 million tons to 74 million tons by 2030.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Игорь Сечин вышел из совета директоров 'Роснефти'" (Sechin leaves Rosneft board)

"И.Сечин сохранит влияние на 'Роснефть' после выхода из СД компании" (Sechin to retain control after stepping down from the company's board of directors)

"Председатель правления «Роснефти» заявляет, что Сечин сохранит контроль над этой компанией" (Chairman of the board of Rosneft said that Sechin will retain control over this company)

"МИД: Другие страны должны учитывать интересы РФ в Центральной Азии" (FM: Other countries should take Russia's interests in Central Asia into account)

"Russia unfazed by foreign presence in Central Asia"

"Медведев: Россия и КНР могут увеличить товарооборот до $100 млрд" (Medvedev: Russia and China could increase trade volume to $ 100 billion)

"Медведев рассчитывает на углубление партнерских отношений с Китаем" (Medvedev hopes to deepen partnership with China)

"Медведев: согласование условий поставок газа в Китай нужно ускорить" (Medvedev: agreement on the conditions of gas supply to China needs to be accelerated)

"Медведев обсудит в Гонконге вопросы расширения связей в экономике" (Medvedev will discuss in Hong Kong on expanding ties in the economy)

"Medvedev to Trade Energy for Investment on China Trip"

"Представители ШОС и СНГ обсудили деятельность террористических организаций" (Representatives of the SCO and the CIS discussed the activities of terrorist groups)

"Президент Узбекистана посетит Китай" (Uzbek President to visit China)

"中国石化哈萨克斯坦阿特劳炼油厂芳烃装置开工" (Sinopec begins construction of petrochemical facility in Atyrau)
"Kazakhstan: Obama-Nazarbayev Meeting Does Not Yield OSCE Summit Pledge"

"Turkmenistan Q1 energy export revenues jump 250%"

This Week in the News

In a new poll by the Razumkov Center (a Kyiv-based think tank which occasionally carries out various sociological polls), more Crimean residents identify Ukraine as their homeland. Over the past three years, this percentage has increased almost 40%, from 32% in 2008 to 71.3% in this most recent poll. While this is a significant rise, the national average (that is, in the other regions of Ukraine) is 93%. This could signify a decrease in Russian separatist feelings and I believe that Kyiv should take this as a sign that Crimeans in general might be willing to support measures from the central Ukrainian government of direct benefit to Crimea--although this reinforces a relationship with Kyiv at the center and Crimea at the periphery (meaning a forfeiture of some autonomy). In that same three year span, the poll shows that the amount of people who believe that "there was an acute possibility of conflict" has more than halved, from 24.4% to 10.2%.

Razumkov released the poll data on the same day that Prime Minister Azarov spoke to the effect that the Ukrainian government will continue to allot funds for national minorities, especially mentioning the Crimean Tatars. He added that each year, he intends to allocate additional money each year to this fund. Azarov also mentioned that because of this fund and the support of the state, "there is not a single Tatar without a roof over their head." Though roofs there may be, Azarov knows that there are tens of thousands of Tatar families living in temporary or crude housing on contested ("seized" in Crimean head Dzharty's language) land. Even if his claim that there is no Tatar homelessness were true (and I am in no position to refute it), I would not think that Azarov would want to take responsibility for the actual living conditions of many of these worse-off Crimean Tatar families. Nevertheless, perhaps with more of a mandate--evidenced from the above poll--and therefore a tighter control of where these funds actually end up, we may begin to see real improvements in the quality of life for many of the Crimean Tatars.

Articles referenced in this post:

Poll: Most Crimean residents consider Ukraine their motherland
Azarov promises to increase financing to improve life of Crimean Tatars

Monday, April 11, 2011

This Week in the News

On April 7, President Viktor Yanukovich signed a bill which alters the Ukrainian constitution in regards to the central government's relationship to the ARC, including land reform and allotments. This, the President said, is in agreement with his personal politics--i.e., regionalism--and the constitution of the ARC; the Kyiv Post mentions that this was against the advice of "some experts." I looked for more references to this act and unfortunately I could find none. As such, I cannot comment on the types of reforms that this new bill will introduce. This does, however, come after a speech by the President wherein he has announced his plans to return to a mixed electoral parliamentary system in order to modernize the system and to cut down on election fraud.

Analyst and blogger Paul Goble has issued a review-cum-response of an article by Anna Steshenko in, the original on the "hidden Islamization of Ukraine" appearing on 31 March. Steshenko attests in a hostile and frankly islamophobic manner that in the past twenty years, over a million Slavs in Ukraine have converted to Islam, and that Kyiv's policies toward Islam foster radical Islamic movements. She also criticized Ukraine for not supporting Russian efforts in Chechnya by allowing Chechen refugees asylum, ridicules the idea that Ukraine can be a model of any kind to Russia, and closes her article on a note of condescension and derision. It was clear from her attacking tone that the article was intended to drum up fear and religio-racial strife. Goble picks up on this too, and criticizes her article because of it. He surmises that Steshenko has probably distorted her statistics (attributed to Gennady Udovenko of Narodny Rukh) and additionally exaggerated the numbers further to push her agenda. However, that is Goble's main critique. He leaves her argumentative tone alone and does nothing to rebuff Steshenko's fearmongering. Because Steshenko did not provide any sources besides Udovenko, her allegations especially into Kyiv's policies on Muslims and Islam and the Muslim group "Alraid" ring hollow and specious. This kind of malicious journalism helps no one resolve conflicts or issues--in this case, the treatment of Muslims and Islam--it only serves to polarize the debate, devolving it into a series of ad hominem attacks which betray any attempts at successful negotiation. I applaud Mr. Goble for holding Ms. Steshenko accountable for her trumped-up statements, but I criticize him for not going far enough.

Articles referenced in this post:

Yanukovych backs Crimean autonomy
Ukraine should return to mixed electoral system of parliamentary elections, says president

Window on Eurasia: Have ‘More than a Million Slavs in Ukraine’ Become Muslims Since 1991?
Скрытая исламизация Украины (The Hidden Islamization of Ukraine)

Central Asian Energy News This Week

Astana - Kazakhstan is tightening control over its own fuel resources.

The energy-rich state plans to export its gas only through a national operator, Kazkh Vice-Minister of Oil and Gas Lyazzat Kiinov said on Tuesday. "Instead they will be selling the gas to the national operator at a wholesale price and the national operator will export it." According to Kiinov, the operator's main objective will be to meet the internal demand of the country and then to sell the surplus abroad. The bill about the establishment of a single gas export operator will be submitted to the government in May.

In terms of oil, Kazakhstan plans to terminate the contract under which Russia will use Taysogan as military ground (in Atyrau region, west of the country) because oil was found there, said Kazakhstan's Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev. The Minister explained that Taysogane, which is located within the territory allocated to the oil companies, oil field was found, and therefore the Kazakhs are negotiating with Russians. He explained that "if we will develop and produce oil in this area, we will offer the Russian Federation another site for Russian military use."

Also, Kazakhstan is considering a three-year halt to work on the main phase of the super-giant Kashagan oil field development, as international oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil fight to convince the country's oil ministry to back a simplified project, which would reduce their costs by $18 billion to $50 billion. The Kazakhs are considering shelving this new simplified design, and keeping the field producing at its initial rate of 375,000 barrels per day (bpd) for at least three years. Over the next three months, the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) consortium will present their model of how oil will flow as it is produced, after which the Kazakhs will make a final decision on the freeze.

Ashgabat - Turkmenistan is making efforts to promote the country's energy sector to the world.

Turkmenistan on Monday unveiled a new oil and gas research center in the Capital Ashgabat. The center includes a three-story laboratory to be used by the Turkmengas Oil and Gas Institute, the Oil and Gas Institute Professional Training Center, the state concern TurkmenGeology Exploration Institute as well as other energy-related organizations. On Saturday, the meeting of the joint Turkmen-French working group opened in Paris, where for three days the representatives of Turkmenistan and France will discuss current issues and prospects of the development of bilateral relations in oil and gas industry.

Moreover, state-owned energy company Turkmengaz will host its second International Gas Conference at the end of May in the country’s Avaza tourist zone. The conference will be held May 25-26 and is scheduled to include 500 participants from around the world. "The congress agenda will focus on attracting direct foreign investment into Turkmenistan’s gas industry, diversification of gas transit routes to Europe and Asia, implementation of advanced technologies and techniques as well as international standards in the development of Turkmenistan’s gas resources and the promotion of the country’s gas sector to the world," the conference’s welcoming committee announced in a letter on their website.

Tashkent - With oil and gas accounting for 97% of Uzbekistan’s energy resources, officials are looking for alternatives to create a mix of energy sources. One of the most promising alternatives under development are gas-to-liquid fuels (GTL), derived from natural gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons. Uzbekistan will become the sixth country — the first in the CIS and Europe — to produce GTL fuels, said Uzbeknetftegaz spokeswoman Yelena Kim. Uzbekneftegaz is also considering building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. However, developing alternative hydrocarbon resources requires huge investments in exploration, scientific research, mining and manufacturing. In addition, oil shale reserves in Uzbekistan are estimated at 47 billion tonnes, with the country’s major deposits 600m below the Kyzyl Kum Desert and the Baisun Mountains. Uzbekistan is developing biotechnology to process the shale. However, Uzbekistan can’t afford those projects by itself, and is seeking foreign investment.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Казахстан будет экспортировать газ только через нацоператора" (Kazakhstan will mandate all gas exports go through state operator)

"Казахстан приостановит освоение Кашагана на 3 года" (Kazakhstan considers three-year delay on additional development at Kashagan)

"Казахстан хочет выгнать Россию с полигона Тайсоган, где найдена нефть" (Kazakhstan wants to expel Russia from Taysogan, where oil is found)

"Госконцерн 'Туркменгаз' организует Международный газовый конгресс Туркменистана" (Turkmengaz to host int’l gas conference in May)

"Turkmenistan unveils new oil and gas research center"

"Туркменистан и Франция развивают сотрудничество в нефтегазовой сфере" (Turkmenistan and France develop their cooperation in oil and gas)

"Узбекистан исследует альтернативные виды топлива" (Uzbekistan pursues alternative fuels)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This Week in the News

On Monday, the court case against Vitaly Khramov, leader of the Don Cossack group "Sobol" continued. Khramov is charged with inciting ethnic and religious hatred after showing an inflammatory video presentation at the funeral of Vitaly Shemyakin, whom Khramov attests was killed by Islamic extremists. "Sobol" is a Russian-nationalist and separatist group, and Khramov has been known for his anti-Ukrainian, -Muslim, and -Jewish views and outbursts.

The article states that the prosecution has hit a snag as Khramov's lawyers attest that the evidence against him was obtained illegally. Present at the trial were members of many Cossack and Russian groups in support of Khramov. This situation presents a difficulty for the central government in Kyiv and the Crimean minorities. The support shown by various groups is alarming enough, but should Khramov win the case, that sends the message that hate speech and inciting ethnic and religious hatred is permissible: it is only a short step from hate speech to hate crimes. Should Khramov lose, however, there is also a possibility that the Cossack and Russian groups in support of Khramov might rise up in protest and retaliate against Crimean Ukrainians, Tatars, and Jews. While it appears to be a lose-lose situation, I do not know enough about the case and its proceedings--and the Ukrainian legal system in general--to completely rule out a resolution to this case that would deter future violence and hate speech.

Also, former Mufti of Crimea Nuri Efendi Mustafaiev has passed away. He served as mufti from 1995 to 1999 and was influential in creating Azizler, a group whose aim is to examine and preserve Crimean Tatar culture. The Mufti of Ukraine Sheikh Akhmed Tamim has expressed his condolences but I have yet to find an official statement from either the Kurultay or the Mejlis. Given the tension between Tamim and the Crimean Tatars, this too could be the cause of continued tension.

Articles referenced in this post:

В Симферополе продолжается суд над лидером казачьей общины «Соболь» по обвинению в разжигании межнациональной и религиозной вражды (In Simferopol, the case against the leader of the Cossack group "Sobol" continues on charges of inciting ethnic and religious hatred)
Mufti of Crimea Nuri Efendi Mustafaiev Passed Away

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Central Asia News This Week

Astana & Moscow - Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) and Kazakhstan's uranium producer Kazatomprom signed a memorandum of intent to cooperate in the production and sales of rare earth metals on Wednesday. "The international rare earth metals price has increased greatly and all forecasts say it will rise further, while demand for these metals will only grow. Our estimates show there are good opportunities to take rather an influential share on the rare earth metals market," said Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom). Also, Kazakhstan is in talks with Russia on nuclear plant construction. Kazakhstani and Russian officials have agreed to build a nuclear power plant near Aktau. The first of two units is scheduled to go online in 2016, according to officials of state-owned Kazatomprom.

Meanwhile, Majilis(Kazakh parliament's lower house) deputies approved the draft Law "On ratification of Agreement on the organization, management, operation and development of common oil and oil products market for Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation." "The goal of the agreement is to establish major principles and events aimed at forming common oil and oil products markets among the participants in the common economic space, as well as developing competition on these markets," Sauat Mynbayev, the Kazakh minister for oil and gas, told parliamentarians on Wednesday. This agreement, signed in Moscow in December 2010, stipulates unlimited oil and oil products supplies to member countries and the absence of export duties, he added. The document has yet to be ratified by the Kazakh parliament's upper house and signed by the president to come into force. In term of gas, Sauat Mynbayev said will provide a gradual increase in the price of gas sales in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan to a level comparable with gas prices in Russia. He said Kazakhstan will focus on the minimum price in Russia. "However, the economy of the future Beyneu-Bozoy-Samsonovka pipeline must be taken into account in terms of the gas supply to the south, as the pipeline can not operate at a loss," he pointed out.

In an effort to save money and natural resources, Kazakhstan is looking for ways to use renewable energy sources. “About 20-30% of domestically consumed energy can be saved through the use of heat- and energy-saving technology,” Yaroslav Romanchik of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Clean Production said. Wind- and water-based solutions are considered the most viable, but problems remain that building new plants might turn out inordinately expensive for Kazakhstan.

Ashgabat — Turkmenistan is deciding where best to sell its abundant natural gas. “Our uncertainty about Russia as a partner caused Turkmenistan to look around,” a Turkmengaz company analyst, who spoke under the condition his name would not be used. “Also, if Turkmenistan can sell gas in much larger quantities, why not do so?” The West is under consideration to become a customer. However, Turkmenistan has not yet admitted Western companies to its gas fields, Azerbaijan Oil Research Centre head Ilkham Shaban said. “Ashgabat has made an exception only for China’s CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) and some Asian companies, but with time it has felt economic pressure from them. . Turkmen officials don’t want changes in domestic life.” China has made inroads in that respect, but it offers a broader market, a Turkmengaz company analyst, requesting anonymity, said. On Thursday, China National Petroleum Corporation has announced a tender for the provision of the basic design of the system of collection and transportation of gas in four fields in Block "B" in the Contract Area Bagtyyarlyk Lebap province of Turkmenistan.

Dushanbe - American Research Center Gallup published the rating of the most pro-Russian countries. According to the results of the study in Tajikistan, 94% of the inhabitants of the republic hold positive view of current policies carried out by Russian leaders, characterizing it as effective. Only 2% of the citizens of Tajikistan does not agree with this view. According to the polls, 71% of Tajik citizens support the policy of the Chinese leadership, 47% - Germany, 44% - Japanese 39% - 34% France - Great Britain. Meanwhile, year after year the confidence of Tajiks to the U.S. administration is increasing. In 2010 the number of pro-American people in the country reached 47% from 2008's 30%.

On the first places in this ranking is also Kyrgyzstan and Mali, 84% of citizens who trust the leadership of Russia. The most negative attitudes toward Russia are held by the citizens of Georgia. 76% of Georgians have strongly condemned the policy of official Moscow and only 6% rated the steps of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin as effective. Such a low level of trust in relation to Russia was registered in another country in the world - Kosovo, where the number of pro-Russian citizens do not exceed 7%.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Россия и Казахстан будут сотрудничать в производстве редкоземельных металлов" (Russia, Kazakhstan team up to produce rare earth metals)

"Казахстан планирует построить собственную атомную электростанцию вместе с Россией" (Kazakhstan to build nuclear power plant with Russia)

"Казахстан построит АЭС" (Kazakhstan to build nuclear power plant)

"Мажилис одобрил ратификацию соглашения о развитии общих рынков нефти Беларуси, Казахстана и России" (Majilis approved ratification of the agreement on the development of common oil market in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia)

"Казахстан к 2015 году доведет цены на газ на внутреннем рынке до уровня российских" (Kazakhstan will bring domestic gas prices to Russian level by 2015)

"Казахстан осваивает возобновляемую энергию" (Kazakhstan moves toward renewable energy)

"Туркменистан определяет газовые маршруты" (Turkmenistan considers gas export routes)

"Туркменский газ может найти выход в Китай" (Turkmen gas could find Chinese outlet)

"Китайская CNPC объявила тендер на освоение газовых месторождений в Туркмении" (China's CNPC announced a tender for development of gas fields in Turkmenistan)

"Американский центр Gallup: Таджикистан - самая пророссийски настроенная страна мира (Gallup: Tajikistan - the most pro-Russia country in the world)