Azerbaijan’s energy cooperation is based on national interests, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The president made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 5th News Agencies World Congress and the 16th General Assembly of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) in Baku Nov. 16. President Aliyev noted that the diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy continues, and it does not depend on a single source. Stressing the importance of Azerbaijan’s geographical location, the President said there is a need to create an appropriate infrastructure. President Aliyev said he believes the North–South and East–West Corridor will expand the export and transit potential of Azerbaijan.
After a meeting by Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and his Chinese counterpart, Li Kequiang, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation announced that Russia plans to build new nuclear power plants in China. For many years, Russia and China have been actively cooperating in the nuclear sphere. Russian specialist assisted in the construction of the first and second power units of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Station. The third and fourth power units are now being built. Russia and China will also develop cooperation on the project of floating nuclear power stations and the promising area of fast-neutron reactors, which are the fourth-generation technology. Floating nuclear power stations are a project of Chinese engineering, to make autonomous outposts far from the cost in the South China Sea.
With the enforcement of the nuclear deal in January, several economic sanctions -which have wreaked havoc on Iran’s economy for years- has been lifted, thus paving the way for its re-integration into the international economic competition. However, as the Expediency Council points out, the hostility of many countries is still alive, along with their desire to curb the country’s economic recovery. Likewise, some countries, for example some European partners, will have to gradually win back Iran’s trust towards them. In other words, Tehran bets again on the well-known economy of resistance strategy, which has taught the country to maximize the use of national resources, while minimizing vulnerability and damage caused by sanctions. This policy, indeed, allowed the Iranian economy to survive decades of isolation, still being (in terms of GDP) the second of the Middle East and the seventh in Asia.
The openness towards foreign countries will be carefully planned: the aim is to strengthen key economic areas, while continuing to exploit the internal resources, which have proved to be productive, such as industrial infrastructure and the petrochemical industry. Hence, priority is given to investment from abroad, increasing export of non-oil products and to address the problem of foreign exchange reserves still frozen by sanctions. At a time when international attention is focused on fighting ISIS, Tehran is launching its economic “offensive”, paving the way for trade agreements especially with Asian and African countries.
Concerning import-export, Iran and Russia are considering the creation of a free trade zone, as Russian Energy Minister Alexsandr Novak recently announced. The first draft of the project sets metal and chemical products as the main objects of Russian exports to Iran; in return, Iran would provide fruit and vegetables up to one billion dollars, a significant increase compared to the current trade ($194 million).
Important achievements also with Vietnam. The two countries aim to increase their trade value from 350 million to 2 billion over the next five years, with investment projects in several sectors, i.e. agriculture, tourism, energy and technological innovations. In order to foster cooperation, their central banks have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Ongoing negotiations also with Turkey, Côte d’ Ivoire and other African countries, which are willing to enhance economic relations with the Islamic Republic. Iran’s achievements in energy, healthcare, technology and infrastructure make it an ideal partner to supply the needs of the African continent.
Two major projects are on the table in energy sector. The first concerns the construction of an undersea gas pipeline linking Iran to India: 1400 kilometers of infrastructure that will allow to bypass Pakistani exclusive economic zone, bringing up to 31.5 million cubic meters of gas per day in India. A big investment, about $ 4.5 billion, which confirms –and rewards- the good relations that the nations preserved even during the sanctions regime. The second new project is a scientific and technological cooperation between the Elettra Synchrotron of Trieste (Italy) and the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences in Tehran. Key points are the training of Iran’s scientific and technical personnel and the joint design of a new line of light, to be used both in the study of chemical and biological phenomena, and in industrial sectors.
Pakistan marks an important turning point in banking sector. As some sanctions are still in force, payment in dollars for products imported from Iran is not yet possible. Hence, Pakistani businessmen decided to open letters of credit (LCs) in euro rather than in the US currency. In this way, the American banks will be no longer the intermediate banks, but the European ones will clear the LCs.
To conclude, it seems that Iran has a clear economic strategy in mind. On the one hand, it focuses on internal resources, such as oil – Iran will begin to cooperate with other producing countries about freezing production only when the its output will reach the quota of 4 million barrels a day. On the other, it aims to strengthening key economic sectors, by intensifying relations with medium and big Asian powers, thus favoring them rather than Middle Eastern and Western countries, a clear sign that the distrust towards those who most benefited from sanctions is far from over.
Today, the Council of the European Union – which, we remember is the Union’s executive body – has added 16 persons and 12 entities to its “black list” of individuals and companies affected by restrictive measures taken by europe against the conduct of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The decision reflects the new requirements imposed by the 2270 resolution of the United Nations Security Council adopted on the 2nd March 2016 in response to the test launches of nuclear rockets by North Korea, which took place on January 6 and 7 February.
The formal proceedings of this diplomatic initiative will be published in the EU Official Journal tomorrow. The EU’s restrictive measures against North Korea have been introduced for the first time on 22 December 2006. Current measures comply with all the resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted after the launches and nuclear tests performed by North Korea, using ballistic missile technology, and also include additional measures taken by the EU autonomously. Such decision is to hit the North Koreans launch program policies.
The most important measures include import and export bans for weapons, and every object or technology that could contribute to such activities. Both the UN and the EU, independently, have also imposed restrictive measures for financial and commercial activities and transport services.
With this initiative, today, the European Union has strengthened its latest measures, which were decided on 22 April 2013, implementing the UN Security Council Resolution. 2094.
The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a “supergiant” natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the largest-ever found in the Mediterranean Sea. “Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds,” Eni said in a statement. “The discovery, after its full development, will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
“Eni will immediately appraise the field with the aim of accelerating a fast-track development of the discovery,” the energy company said.
The discovery of potentially the world’s largest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast will be an enormous alternative for Egypt and the Mediterranean in terms of energy stability. “It is close to the facilities so the time to market will be very good…that is part of our strategy to…continue to do our exploration in the mature area where we have a deep geographical knowledge and we can take advantage of our facilities and that will make the unit cost in terms of capital very positive” the CEO said.
State-backed Eni has market capitalization of around 54 billion euros and is the biggest foreign producer in Africa. It has operated in Egypt for more than 60 years through its Egyptian subsidiary IEOC and is one of the main energy producers in the country, with a daily output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
“The Egyptian government is very happy with this find,” ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdelaziz stated, adding that the gas would be extracted for domestic consumption only. “We hope to become self-sufficient by 2020,” he added. The egyptian government cannot yet place a monetary value on the discovery, he said.
In June, Italy’s ENI signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt’s oil ministry following an memorandum of understanding signed in March during an investment conference, allowing the Italian major to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.
ENI’s influence in diplomatic exchanges has always been of great relevance and the weight of this ultimate discovery will grow the italian presence in the area for sure.
The Italian Foreign Ministry informs that four Italians were kidnapped in Libya near the compound of Mellitah Oil and Gas
These are employees of the construction company Bonatti.
The Crisis Unit took immediate steps to follow the case and is in constant contact with the families of compatriots and with the company Bonatti.
As known, following the closure of the Embassy of Italy in Libya on February 15,