Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az Azerbaijan approves agreement with UNESCO on 43rd session of World Heritage Committee http://www.today.az/news/politics/181771.html Politics Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:41:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree to approve the agreement with UNESCO as the country is preparing to host the 43rd session of the organization`s World Heritage Committee.Upon entry into force of this agreement, Azerbaijan`s Ministry of Culture shall ensure the full implementation of its provisions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall notify UNESCO of the implementation of the domestic procedures required for bringing the agreement into force. Turkmenistan introducing online services in employment http://www.today.az/news/regions/181770.html World news Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:36:00 +0400 By TrendThe work is underway in Turkmenistan to improve services in the field of social protection and employment of the population, Trend reports with reference to the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan.In particular, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Turkmenistan is working to implement transition to digital economy and public administration, as well as to improve the quality of services provided to the population.Opening a section on the official website of the ministry that includes information about available jobs, as well as people seeking job, is another important step towards harmonization of relations between the subjects of the labor market, the report said.The necessary conditions have been defined for those seeking job and employers for using the services of the website for employment of the Turkmen population.Users who have a registered email, those who passed registration on the webpage as a job seeker, can use the services of the website by clicking on a link sent to their email address after activating their "Personal Account" for online employment services. Crude steel production in Kazakhstan amounts to 1.1M tons http://www.today.az/news/regions/181769.html World news Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:29:00 +0400 By TrendIn the first quarter of this year, the production of crude steel in Kazakhstan decreased by 2.7 percent compared to the 1 quarter of 2018 and amounted to 1.1 million tons, Trend reports with reference to energyprom.kz.Karaganda region provided 965,000 tons or 85 percent of the total production, minus 3.7 percent for the year.Within a general decline in the production of crude steel, the production of unalloyed steel decreased by 2.7 percent, while alloyed steel decreased immediately by 32 percent.The output of flat rolled products from steel in Kazakhstan decreased by 48 percent at once.Only the production of rods and bars of unalloyed steel (increase by 34.3 percent per year) and ribbed sheets from it (increase by 13.7 percent) are on a positive rise.ArcelorMittal JSC that operates in Karaganda region is the world leader in steel production and holds a leading position in the major steel markets of the world, including such sectors as the automotive industry, construction, production of household appliances and packaging.Steel production in 2018 in the country decreased by 14.8 percent compared with the previous year. Deliveries to foreign markets in the sector also went negative.Thus, exports of flat rolled iron, non-alloyed, alloyed and stainless steel in the first two months decreased by 62 percent in tons and by 63.8 percent in money.The main importer of flat rolled products is Russia (101,000 tons, minus 53.8 percent per year).Exports of iron, alloyed, alloyed and stainless steel bars also declined: by 37.7 percent in tons and by 41.9 percent in money.The main importer is Belarus (20,800 tons, minus 9.5 percent per year). Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 27 times http://www.today.az/news/politics/181768.html Politics Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:15:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 27 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said April 24, Trend reports.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. President Ilham Aliyev arrives in China for working visit [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/181767.html Politics Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0400 By TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has arrived in the People's Republic of China for a working visit to attend the second "One Belt One Road" international forum at the invitation of the Chairman of the country.A guard of honor was arranged for President Ilham Aliyev at Beijing International Airport.President Ilham Aliyev was welcomed by Vice Foreign Minister of China Zhang Hanhui and other officials. Oil production expected to grow in Caspian region http://www.today.az/news/business/181764.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 18:00:00 +0400 By TrendIn the next five years, oil production in the Caspian region will grow to 170 million tons per year, said Maksim Murashko, Director General of Transneft Service LLC.He made the remarks at 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports April 23.He noted that at present, 150 million tons of oil are annually produced in the region. “As many as 116 million tons of oil are exported annually from the region,” he said. “The increase in production will also impact the volume of exports.”The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals started in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discuss regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia are also reviewed. Islamic Development Bank mission visits Uzbekistan http://www.today.az/news/regions/181762.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 17:47:00 +0400 By TrendIslamic Development Bank (IsDB) mission on public-private partnership (PPP) arrived to Uzbekistan on Monday, Apr. 22, Trend reports with reference to Islamic Development Bank.The delegation includes Manager of PPP Br. Noman Siddiqui, Senior PPP Advisor Br. Fuad Huseynov, Senior Regional Manager for CIS Countries, ICD, Regional Hub Almaty Br. Samir Tagiyev and IsDB Field Representative in Uzbekistan Br. Khusan Khasanov.IsDB officials will be in Uzbekistan till Apr. 24.The delegation held meetings at the Agency for the development of PPP under the Ministry of Finance of Uzbekistan, at the ministry of Economy and Industry and Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan on April 22.Today on Apr. 23, they held meetings at the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Transport and Poytakht Bank JSC.Moreover, meeting with the Lee Dong Wook – Deputy Minister of public health/adviser to minister on PPP development was held today as well.Considering tomorrow’s meeting, IsDB delegation will hold talks at the ADB Country office, the EBRD Country office, the IFC office, with the Ms. Nasiba Sharipova – Adviser of PWC and with the Deloitte & Touche in Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan increasing methanol export http://www.today.az/news/business/181763.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 17:43:00 +0400 By TrendIn recent years, there has been quite steady increase in exports of methanol in Azerbaijan, said Maksim Belousov, leading specialist in the asset portfolio management at Uralchem OJSC.He made the remarks at 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports April 23.Belousov noted that Azerbaijan annually produces 250-300,000 tons of methanol, adding that Turkey, Italy, Romania and Slovenia are Azerbaijan’s biggest partners in the trade in methanol.He said that methanol is also used in Azerbaijan’s gas sector.“A great share of methanol is used in the domestic market to combat hydrate formation,” he said. “The estimated volumes of methanol used in this direction are 15-20,000 tons per year.”He added that among the CIS countries, in addition to Azerbaijan, methanol is produced in Russia, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Ukraine.“There is a lot of competition in the region,” he said. “There are 25 methanol producers with a total production capacity of 250 million tons of methanol per year.”The expert also stressed that until 2025, the average annual growth of methanol production in the world will be about 5.5 percent.The company SOCAR Methanol is engaged in the production of methanol in Azerbaijan. The production capacity of the plant is 650-700,000 tons of products per year. Int'l Mstislav Rostropovich Festival opens in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/181759.html Arts & Entertainment Tue, 23 Apr 2019 17:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaMstislav Rostropovich is recognized as one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. The legendary cellist left a significant mark in the world of classical music.Starting from 2007, a festival dedicated to the eminent musician is annually held in Baku. The 10th International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival solemnly opened in Baku on April 22.The event is co-organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Culture Ministry and the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation, Trend Life reported.The event was attended by prominent public figures, representatives of diplomatic missions, famous cultural and art figures, and numerous fans of classical music.In his speech, the Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev noted that the International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival is held for the 10th time, and its organization has become a good tradition in the cultural life of the country.The minister expressed his gratitude to the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and the head of the Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation Olga Rostropovich for the initiative and organization of the festival.Garayev also stressed that the Rostropovich family left a significant mark in the history of Azerbaijani music. Mstislav's father, Leopold Rostropovich helped in the formation of a music school at the beginning of the 20th century, while Mstislav Rostropovich made a great contribution to musical culture in the late 20th century - early 21st century.Then, the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra appeared on the stage. The orchestra was conducted by Rauf Abdullayev. The soloists were the Russian violinist Sergey Krylov and French pianist Alexander Kantorov. The concert featured  Beethoven's "Egmont" overture, "Violin Concerto" by Tchaikovsky as well as Brahms' "Piano Concerto No. 2".The 10th International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival will last until April 27. The festival brings together world-famous musicians from Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, etc.Concert programs will be held at the Heydar Aliyev Palace, Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, Baku Academy of Music, and the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater.Born in Baku, Mstislav Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights. He was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights.Rostropovich was a huge influence on the younger generation of cellists. Many have openly acknowledged their debt to his example. In the Daily Telegraph, Julian Lloyd Webber called him "probably the greatest cellist of all time."He inspired and premiered over 100 pieces and formed long-standing artistic partnerships with such prominent composers as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutoslawski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris and Benjamin Britten.A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has become one of the leading conductors of the West.He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966. They performed together regularly. Works of world-famous composers to sound in capital http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/181761.html Arts & Entertainment Tue, 23 Apr 2019 17:10:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan Sate Philharmonic Hall invites you to enjoy a concert of young musicians on May 7.The event will be held as part of the Youth Support project, Trend Life reported.Presidential Fellows Ali Malikov (tar) and Mahir Hajiyev (kamancha) as well as the winners of international competitions Malak Asadullayeva (piano), Atif Garabaghi (vocal), Asim Pirimov (tar), Shamil Rajabov (harmonica), Madina Akhundova (piano), mugham singers Rabil Shiralizade, Gunel Gasimova, etc. will perform at the concert. The musicians will be accompanied by the Azerbaijan State Orchestra conducted by Ilaha Huseynova.Works of world-famous composers will sound at the event. Tickets are on sale in all ticket offices of Baku and online at Iticket.az.The Youth Support project is co-organized by the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall and the Culture Ministry. In 2018, more than 20 concert programs were held as part of the project.Media partners of the event are Azernews.az, Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az. Turkish government: Armenia fears opening archives from 1915 http://www.today.az/news/regions/181766.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:50:00 +0400 By TrendArmenia is afraid to open its archives from 1915, since this will lead to the whole world receiving evidence of the events of 1915 not being an "Armenian genocide", but, on the contrary, an extermination and genocide of the Muslim population of the Ottoman Empire by Armenian gangs, the Turkish government told Trend.The Turkish government noted that Ankara appealed to Yerevan back in 2005 to open the archives from 1915 and create a joint independent committee for investigating the events of that period."If the events of 1915 would have really been an "Armenian genocide", Yerevan would be ready to open these archives," the government said.It was noted that all claims of Armenians regarding the events of 1915 do not have a legal basis."There are thousands of facts documented in the archives of Turkey about how Armenian gangs, with the support of external forces, killed civilians in the provinces of Agri, Kars, Erzurum and Van, and also killed Turkish government officials during the times of the Ottoman Empire," the Turkish government said.It was also noted that, in contrast to Turkey, hostility and hatred for the Turks still remain in Armenia.“While not a single Turk lives in Armenia, Armenians live in Turkey in peace and without any problems. Multinationality is one of the main assets of Turkey,” the government said.The Turkish government also expressed regret that Armenia still remains enslaved by its lobby, which is a puppet in the hands of a number of states.“All actions of the Armenian lobby against Turkey harm, first and foremost, the interests of Armenians who live in poverty in Armenia itself. The authorities of Armenia, instead of thinking about earning money on the “genocide” industry, should think about the future of their people,” the Turkish government said.If the Armenian lobby believes that it can somehow put pressure on Ankara by influencing the parliaments of Western countries, then it is greatly mistaken, the government noted."Yerevan will simply not be able to normalize relations with Ankara by making claims about the so-called "Armenian genocide",” the Turkish government said.Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, allegedly carried out "genocide" against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. Kazakhstan establishes new dollar rate at KASE day trading http://www.today.az/news/regions/181765.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:41:00 +0400 By TrendThe weighted average dollar rate at the daytime session of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) on April 23, 2019 amounted to 377.49 tenge, Trend reports with reference to the exchange data.Compared with the daytime session on April 22 (377.35 tenge / $ 1), the national currency fell by 0.14 tenge to the US dollar.KASE states that at the day trades in US dollars the minimum rate was at the level of 377.30 tenge per dollar, the maximum - 378 tenge, the closing rate - 378 tenge.The volume of trading in US currency amounted to $30.460 million. The number of transactions in currency transactions is 93.In the morning session of trading in US dollar, the minimum rate was 376.80 tenge per dollar, the maximum - 377.36 tenge, the closing rate was 377.35 tenge per dollar.The volume of trading in US dollar amounted to $38.550 million. The number of transactions in currency transactions was 107.The results of the morning and afternoon sessions show that the weighted average rate of the American currency was at the level of 377.33 tenge.In the exchange offices of the Nur-Sultan (former Astana), the maximum selling rate of the dollar is 379 tenge, Almaty - 379.3 tenge.The official exchange rate of the National Bank as of April 23 is 377.11 tenge per $1.On April 24, proceeding from the current procedure for determining the official rate, it will be 377.33 tenge per $1. Oil production expected to grow in Caspian region http://www.today.az/news/business/181757.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:27:00 +0400 By TrendIn the next five years, oil production in the Caspian region will grow to 170 million tons per year, said Maksim Murashko, Director General of Transneft Service LLC.He made the remarks at 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports April 23.He noted that at present, 150 million tons of oil are annually produced in the region. “As many as 116 million tons of oil are exported annually from the region,” he said. “The increase in production will also impact the volume of exports.”The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals started in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discuss regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia are also reviewed. New Action Plan to develop health tourism in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181760.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:03:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Mirsaid IbrahimzadeHealth tourism is developing all around the world and becomes a global trend in the modern industry. One of the main distinctions of this type of tourism is that it doesn't depend on the season and is always available.Azerbaijan is expected to adopt an Action Plan for the development of health tourism in the near future, head of the State Tourism Agency office Kanan Gasimov said addressing the 3rd Global Healthcare Travel Forum and the fifth Assembly of the Global Healthcare Travel Council in Baku.He said that Azerbaijan has great potential in the field of health tourism, which creates conditions for its development and the arrival of many tourists to the country.“In Azerbaijan, there are significant opportunities for substantial success in this area, but it is necessary to eliminate the drawbacks that hinder the development of opportunities for health tourism. In order to lead in this area, it is necessary to follow the new trends and new standards," Gasimov noted.To do this, each created product must be developed in accordance with international standards, he mentioned."And to win the competition, it is necessary to demonstrate the advantages available. At the same time, efforts will be increased to preserve the sustainability of positive processes in Naftalan, Duzdagh and other similar health centers,” Gasimov added.Generally, there are great opportunities to develop health tourism in Azerbaijan since the country is rich in therapeutic mineral and thermal waters, it enjoys mild climate and fascinating natural landscapes - forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls.Moreover, there are around 300 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. The mud is used for treatment of radiculitis, skin, cardiovascular, gynecological and urological diseases as well as gastrointestinal disturbances. It is also widely used in the cosmetology.The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan for medical treatment in January-November 2018 increased by 30 percent compared to the same period in 2017. Many locals and foreign tourists visit Istisu, Naftalan, Galaalti and Duzdagh health centers for treatment.The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan for medical treatment is expected to increase by 18 percent in 2019. Currently, Azerbaijan is developing a strategy for health tourism development.Tourists are especially interested to visit Naftalan city, which is considered to be a unique health center. Naftalan oil, which is a remedy of many diseases, glorified Azerbaijan long before the oil boom that made Baku famous in the 19th century.The healing properties of this special type of oil have been known to medicine for over 600 years and have been successfully used in the treatment of various diseases. As it penetrates the skin, the oil accelerates the metabolic process, boosting cell regeneration. It has a calming, cooling and antiseptic effect, relieves joint pain, cures psoriasis, calms the nerves and beautifies the skin.The world’s only museum of crutches is also located in the city. The exhibits in the museum are crutches left by tourists who came to Naftalan for treatment. No longer needed after a successful treatment, they replenish the museum's showcases, not only pleasing the eye with variety of designs and sizes, but also giving hope to those who came to the resort for treatment. Azerbaijani women entrepreneurs to mull business opportunities in UAE http://www.today.az/news/business/181756.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:53:00 +0400 By TrendThe Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan purposefully expands the cooperation with colleagues abroad, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sakina Babayeva, the head of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan, told Trend."Interest in bilateral cooperation is mutual,” she said. “Our colleagues in the UAE are in contact with our association. We were invited to visit UAE to participate in the forum soon. The opportunities for expanding women's business are planned to be discussed and experience in this sphere is expected to be exchanged within the forum."Babayeva said that she was elected speaker at the upcoming forum, to be held in early May.The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan was created with the support of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of Azerbaijan and was established in October 2017.Over 143,000 women are engaged in business in Azerbaijan, according to the statistics. Turkmenistan attends workshop on identification, detention & return of irregular migrants http://www.today.az/news/regions/181755.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:41:00 +0400 By TrendThe delegation of Turkmenistan took part in a workshop held recently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as part of the EU's Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA), Trend reports referring to the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan.Speakers at the event noted that the countries for the execution of the readmission agreement undertake to fulfill its conditions, and for these obligations they must prove the importance of the grounds for requests for readmission, the report said.It was stated on the EU website that the seminar was held with the participation of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).The main purpose of the event was to acquaint participants with the best international and European practices of identification, accommodation and return of irregular migrants.Special attention was paid to cooperation between institutions involved in the fight against illegal migration at state borders and within country, according to the EU.Practical examples of identifying migrants with irregular status, including their vulnerable groups, were discussed and analyzed. Following the event, EU experts will develop recommendations for improving the national legislation of the countries of Central Asia in accordance with international practice. Azerbaijan`s Aghayev takes bronze at Karate 1 Premier League http://www.today.az/news/sports/181758.html Sports Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:37:00 +0400 By  Azertac Azerbaijan`s Rafael Aghayev has won bronze at Karate 1 Premier League in Rabat, Morocco.He secured the medal thanks to a 2-0 win over France`s Logan da Costa. Prices of precious metals decreased in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181754.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:26:00 +0400 By TrendPrices of precious metals decreased in Azerbaijan on April 23 compared to the prices on April 22, Trend reports citing the data published by the country’s Central Bank.The price of gold decreased by 8.228 manats to 2,166.82 manats per ounce .The price of silver decreased by 0.0665 manats to 25.5284 manats per ounce.The price of platinum decreased by 12.4185 manats to 1,529.2605 manats per ounce.The price of palladium decreased by 50.439 manats to 2,366.434 manats per ounce.Precious metalsApril 23, 2019April 22, 2019GoldXAU2,166.82002,175.048SilverXAG25.528425.5949PlatinumXPT1,529.26051,541.679PalladiumXPD2,366.43402,416.873The precious metals are gold, silver, platinum and metals of platinum group (palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium) brought to the highest fineness (999.9).The precious metals are sold as ingots, coins or powder and have the appropriate quality certificates.Troy ounce is a unit of mass equal to 31.1034768 grams.(1 USD = 1.7 AZN on April 23, 2019) This year's F1 race in Baku to be called Formula 1 SOCAR Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019 http://www.today.az/news/sports/181753.html Sports Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:18:00 +0400 By TrendSOCAR is a partner of the Formula 1 races, which will once again be held in Baku on April 26-28, 2019, Trend reports.As a partner of a high-level event such as Formula 1, SOCAR will promote its brand among millions of motorsports fans around the world. The company name will be added to the race name. MFA: There were no Azerbaijani citizens among those killed in attacks in Sri Lanka http://www.today.az/news/politics/181752.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:42:00 +0400 By TrendThere were no Azerbaijani citizens among those killed in the attacks in Sri Lanka, spokeswoman for Ministry of Foreign Affars Azerbaijan Leyla Abdullayeva told Trend.The spokeswoman noted that 14 people who died during the terrorist attacks on April 21 in Sri Lanka were not yet identified. "The issue is kept in focus by the Azerbaijani Embassy in India. According to the Embassy’s preliminary information, ??there are no Azerbaijani citizens among the known victims of the terrorist act," she saidEight explosions took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, with three churches and three hotels having been targeted. These are the worst attacks in the country's modern history since the end of the 25-year-old civil war. During the attacks, 310 people were killed and 480 were injured . No terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombings. April 23 is declared a day of mourning in Sri Lanka. Economic Aide to First Vice President: Azerbaijan is largest trade partner for US in South Caucasus http://www.today.az/news/business/181751.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:37:00 +0400 By TrendOn April 18th, the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) hosted Dr. Emin Huseynov, Economic Aide to the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for dinner & discussion with USACC member companies and partner organizations, Trend reports citing USACC.Dr. Huseynov briefed USACC members and partners about the ongoing economic and institutional reforms in Azerbaijan, which, he says, aim to redesign the national economy in order to better serve the people and ensure private sector led growth. With significant business, regulatory and institutional reforms, Dr. Huseynov mentioned, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report ranked Azerbaijan 25th, making it one of the top global reformers among 190 economies in the World. The same dynamic is mirrored in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom by Heritage Foundation.Speaking about the bilateral trade and business relations between the United States and Azerbaijan, Dr. Huseynov highlighted that today, Azerbaijan is the largest trade partner for the United States in the South Caucasus region, with $10 bln U.S. investment in Azerbaijani economy, while Azerbaijan’s direct investment in the United States equals $7.6 bln.He highly praised the importance of the inaugural Illinois-Azerbaijan Agriculture Forum co-organized by the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Chamber of Commerce on April 4th, in Chicago, for establishing direct economic and business relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S. States. Executive Director of the International Business Council for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Laura Ortega, reiterated the importance of the recent Illinois-Azerbaijan Agricultural Forum in driving bilateral business linkages.Capacity-building and training programs in various sectors of the economy, institutional cooperation on research and development programs, as well as educational linkages between the two countries were among the major topics throughout the discussions. Azerbaijani president attends opening of Mardakan-Gala highway [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/181748.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:25:00 +0400 By TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the inauguration of Mardakan-Gala highway in Khazar district, Baku.President Aliyev met with local residents, and cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the road. Local, foreign young talents to gather in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/181747.html Arts & Entertainment Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:10:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijani and foreign young talents will gather at the third Arts Olympiad on May 4-5.The project is co-organized by the Azerbaijan Dance Association with the support of the Jam Group and the State Arts Gymnasium, Trend Life reported.The third Arts Olympiad aims at promotion of young talents, cultural exchange, etc.The first day dedicated to vocals and music will be held at the Rashid Behbudov State Song Theater on May 4. Dance competitions will be held at the Azerbaijan Theater Workers Union on May 5.President of the Azerbaijan Dance Association Aziz Azizov stressed that the names of participants as well as of teachers and schools won't be announced during the performance.The jury will evaluate the participants on the technique of performance, composition and image.The Arts Olympiad will be held in various age categories: preschoolers (up to 6 years), children (up to 10 years), teenagers (up to 16 years), adults (16 years old and older). They will perform solo, in duets, small groups (up to 8 participants), ensembles (8-24 participants) and large ensembles (25-50 participants).For more information, please contact: +994 55 707-90-02Media partners of the event are Azernews.az, Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az. Tax revenues to state budget increase in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181744.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 14:00:00 +0400 By TrendIn the 1Q2019, the revenues to the state budget through the Ministry of Taxes of Azerbaijan amounted to 1.67 billion manats, which is 10.4 percent more than the forecast and 16.5 percent more compared to the 1Q2018, Trend reports referring to the Taxes Ministry.About 31 percent of tax revenues accounted for the oil and gas sector and 69.1 percent - for the non-oil sector. Tax revenues in the non-oil sector increased by 18.3 percent.The share of the private sector in the reported period amounted to 76.5 percent, having increased by 18.6 percent compared to the same period of 2018. At the same time, tax revenues from the private sector in the non-oil sector increased by 20.6 percent and amounted to 76.7 percent of all revenues in the non-oil sector and 53 percent of all tax revenues.Tax revenues from the country's regions amounted to 168.4 million manats, having increasing by 24.3 percent. The share of the regions account for just over 10 percent of all revenues; however, the number of registered taxpayers in the regions is growing. Thus, in January-March 2019, the share of registered taxpayers in the regions amounted to 52.2 percent of all registered taxpayers.In total, 25,536 taxpayers were registered during the 1Q2019, including 22,266 individuals. Turkmenistan, Belarus to hold business negotiations http://www.today.az/news/regions/181743.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:43:00 +0400 By TrendBelarus and Turkmenistan have planned to hold a meeting of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Turkmen Committee on Economic Cooperation and a joint business forum in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat in May, Trend reports referring to the export portal of Belarus at the National Centre for Marketing and Price Study.The agenda includes issues related to the prospects of the growth of trade turnover and development of scientific and technical cooperation between Belarus and Turkmenistan.According to the National Centre, the business forum will focus on the establishment of direct relations between interested business entities of the Republic of Belarus and potential Turkmen partners representing both the public and private sector.As was reported earlier, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $65.0 million (with a balance for Belarus - 57.7 million) in 2017, and to $32.2 million (balance - 22.9 million) in 2018.Belarus mainly supplies to Turkmenistan high value-added goods, such as trucks, special purpose vehicles, tractors, road-building equipment, medicines, woodworking products, and agricultural products.The main promising areas of Belarusian exports to Turkmenistan are the expansion of the dealer network of engineering companies, increase in the supply of agricultural technology, elevator equipment and food products, and the supply of equipment and the provision of services in the field of military-technical cooperation. Will Iran extend ban on import of some commodities? http://www.today.az/news/regions/181742.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:34:00 +0400 By TrendIranian government is unlikely to extend the ban on imports of some commodities, the spokesman of Customs Administration Ahmad Khani told Trend."Contrary to the perception of many who thinks that Customs is the policy maker, the Economic Policy Council is the one that made decision on import ban," he said.The Customs Administration only acts as the executor of the government's decisions, so the notion that customs have caused ban on importing specific goods is irrelevant, he added.Last Iranian year (ended on March 21), the imposition of customs restrictions, the prohibition of imports of the luxury goods and closure of production units in the border areas were part of the problems that both traders and the Free Zone Organization was struggling with.In June last year, the import of 1,339 commodities categorized as "non-essential goods with domestic counterparts", i.e. Group IV, was banned by the government to save foreign currency and support domestic products.In January, 47 commodities were removed from the list of banned imports and residents of border towns were given the green light to legally bring in previously banned goods including essential commodities like rice (30 kg per person annually), sugar (15 kilograms per person annually), tea (1 kg per person annually), vegetable oil (10 kg per person annually), paper (7 kg per person annually), coffee and oilseeds.Several times, traders and shopkeepers in the border areas protested against the ban on imports of the luxuries commodities. Turkmenistan looks to digitize economy with help from Israeli company http://www.today.az/news/regions/181740.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:27:00 +0400 By TrendA meeting with representatives of the Israeli company BlackSparc, specializing in IT-technologies, was held at the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan (UIET), Trend reports with reference to the UIET.Israeli specialists made a presentation of their capabilities and opportunities of partner companies in the implementation of such systems as "smart city" and "digital state", the report says.In particular, the directions of using digital technologies in banking, healthcare, distant education, in the work of mobile operators and in the labeling of certain types of goods, in the fight against counterfeit products were considered.Representatives of the UIET, the companies "Akylly Tislimat" and "Imdat Electronika", as well as the leadership of the National Barcode Organization of Turkmenistan took part in the discussion of the prospects for cooperation.The meeting participants expressed interest in establishing mutually beneficial business contacts, the report said.The Concept of Development of Digital Economy for 2019-2025 is being implemented in Turkmenistan.According to the aforementioned concept, an "e-government" system is planned to be developed in Turkmenistan, which is expected to be organized in a fuel and energy complex, chemical industry, processing industry, construction, transport, telecommunications, medicine, textile industry and the agricultural sector.The new system is expected to allow for a quick and efficient supervision of the seasonal work, as well as provide the opportunity for continuous monitoring and operational decision-making at the level of the sectoral ministry, as well as the administration and agribusinesses.Local economists think that the implementation of e-government will help improve the efficiency of enterprise management, provide an opportunity for operational control at all stages of business process management, reducing document passage cycles and the execution time of basic functions, and will ensure rapid search for information necessary for making management decisions. Gas processing plant to be built in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181750.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:21:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Mirsaid IbrahimzadeThe 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals is underway in Baku. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.Speaking at the event, Managing Partner of BM Morison Partners Aykhan Asadov stated that there is a plan to build a gas processing plant in Azerbaijan by 2022.He said that engineering and design work has been completed and it is planned to begin construction of the plant this year. Asadov noted that that there was a plan to build a single oil and gas processing complex in Azerbaijan; however, due to the oil prices fall, the initial plan was changed.“The project was planned to be implemented in 2017-2020. The complex was to consist of four sections: a gas processing plant with a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, an oil refinery with a capacity of 10 million tons per year, a petrochemical plant and a 250-megawatt power plant,” he said.Asadov noted that the changes mainly affected oil refining. In particular, instead of building new capacities, attention was focused on modernizing Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery.“By the end of November 2020, it is planned to produce 3.3 million tons of diesel per year at the refinery, and by February 2021 - 2.2 million tons of gasoline annually,” he emphasized.The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals started in Baku on April 22. Among other topics, the Forum participants discuss the development of energy sector, the SOCAR oil refining and petrochemical cluster in Turkey, the latest refining technologies, regional gas projects, possible imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019, new fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes, and Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context.Trends in the global markets of petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, as well as current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia are also reviewed.The forum jointly organized by Baku Higher Oil School, SOCAR and the British company Confidence Capital Ltd will be held until April 25. The event participants will also visit the SOCAR carbamide plant, SOCAR Polymer and the BP Sangachal terminal. Azerbaijani winery eyes to increase exports to Europe http://www.today.az/news/business/181741.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:14:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Leman MammadovaIncreasing local wine exports further promotes Azerbaijani products abroad as well as strengthens the non-oil sector in the county's economy.Aspi Agro LLC producing wine in Azerbaijan’s Gabala city intends to export its products to more countries, Aygun Atayeva, Chief Sales Manager, told Trend."Presently, the company’s products are sold domestically and exported to the EU countries," she said. "The products under Savalan brand are supplied to several European countries and our goal is to further popularize Azerbaijani products to promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand on the European continent."Atayeva added that the company needs the state support for more sustainable propaganda of its wine outside the country.The chief sales manager stressed that presently, small volumes are supplied to Europe, but these supplies are stable."Every year the company produces a million bottles of wine, while a certain part of this volume accounts for export to Europe," Atayeva said.Established in 2007, Aspi Agro LLC uses the experience of Italian specialists in the wine production. Modern Italian equipment produced by Della-Toffola company is used in the company.Winery occupies one of the most important places in the food industry of Azerbaijan. The country is famous for its high quality grape varieties. The five major wine-growing regions of Azerbaijan are Shamakhi, Ismayilli, Gabala, Ganja and Tovuz. Local grape varieties include White Shani, Derbendi, Nail, Bayan Shirey, Gamashara, Ganja Pink, Bendi, Madrasa, Black Shani, Zeynabi, Misgali, Khindogni, Agdam Kechiamjayi, Tebrizi and Marandi.The share of Azerbaijan in the wine production in the former Soviet Union was always high. Nevertheless, the Anti-Alcohol Campaign in 1985 caused the destruction of the vineyards of more than 130,000 hectares in Azerbaijan. One of the first steps towards the restoration of vineyards and winemaking in the country was the Law on Winemaking adopted in 2001.To ensure sustainable development of winemaking in the country, increase the interest in wine production and exports, the State Program on the development of wine growing in 2018-2025 was approved in May 2018, which will facilitate the development of wine tourism and increase loans allocated to the wine industry in Azerbaijan. The State Program envisages that the export of wine from Azerbaijan should increase fivefold by 2025.Azerbaijan plans to develop the first wine tourist route in the history of the country by mid-2019. A new highly specialized tourist route will pass through the wineries of the Absheron, Ismayilli, Shirvan, Gabala, Sheki and Goygol regions.Tourism experts intend to pave the route in such a way that within a few days foreigners would be taken from one region to another, giving them the opportunity to visit wineries where the legendary Azerbaijani alcoholic beverages are produced. In addition, tourists will get the opportunity to personally taste wine drinks. Azerbaijan also intends to connect it with the famous Georgian wine route, paving the way for tourists from Sheki to Kakheti, a Georgian region.Currently, about 40 winemaking enterprises operate in Azerbaijan producing natural wine, sparkling wine, liqueur, brandy, vodka, ethyl alcohol, cognac, etc. Most of producers target Russian and European markets as well as new markets for Azerbaijani wine, such as China.In addition, Azerbaijani wine houses operate in foreign countries to promote national brands and their export. The first wine house of Azerbaijan was opened in China in 2018.Recently, local wine products have been featured at Prowein 2019 international exhibition in Germany, the world's leading trade fair for wine and spirits. As a result of the discussions, Absheron Wine Company has already reached a preliminary agreement on exporting its products to Germany. Moreover, Naiqin Co-Tovuz Baltiya and Aspi Agro companies held talks on exporting their products to Germany, France and the Netherlands, while Sharg Ulduzu and Agro-Azerinvest - to Norway, Germany and China. Kazakhstan, S.Korea to realize nearly 60 joint projects http://www.today.az/news/regions/181739.html World news Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:50:00 +0400 By TrendKazakhstan and South Korea have signed new economic cooperation program called "Fresh wind" for 2019-22,Trend reports citing the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development of Kazakhstan.Kazakhstan-S.Korea Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation is to supervise the program.dSome 58 projects of the program are to cover such economic spheres as transport and logistics, construction, infrastructural development, mining and metallurgy sectors, trade and economic cooperation, energy, innovation and ICT, agriculture, finance, health care as well as cooperation in culture, tourism and education system.Roman Sklyar, Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Son Yoon Mo, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea have signed the program.Out of all 40 projects in the portfolio of Kazakhstan-Korea Innovative Industrial projects, 19 of them were already realized using $1.9 billion, 6 more are in the process of realization using $2.1 billion and 15 promising projects to be realized for $3.2 billion that are a part of the "Fresh wind" program.Today there are more than 500 companies in Kazakhstan with South Korean capital. Defense Minister meets with UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/181738.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:39:00 +0400 By TrendOn April 22, the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov has met with the UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan, Ghulam Isaczai, Trend reports referring the Ministry of Defense of the country.The Minister of Defense stressing the fruitful and comprehensive cooperation of Azerbaijan with the UN noted that Azerbaijan also began military cooperation within the framework of this authoritative organization.During the meeting, the parties touched upon the issue of settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and exchanged views on the activities of the UN in this area.The Minister of Defense recalled his recent participation in UN events in New York and discussed with the guest the results of the meetings held there.Isaczai, in turn, highly appreciated the contribution of Azerbaijan to international security as part of the operations conducted in Afghanistan, and expressed appreciation for the active participation of Azerbaijani servicemen in peacekeeping missions.During the meeting, the parties held an exchange of views on military cooperation within the UN and other issues of mutual interest. Azerbaijani school opens in France’s Nantes http://www.today.az/news/society/181736.html Society Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:25:00 +0400 By TrendAn Azerbaijani school has opened in France’s Nantes city, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani State Committee on Work with Diaspora on April 22.This school in Nantes was established upon instructions and recommendations of Azerbaijani First Vice-President, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva.The building rented for the school has been repaired by the Coordination Council of Azerbaijanis of France and the Azerbaijani community for three months.About 90 Azerbaijanis living in this area took part in the opening ceremony of the "Karabakh" school. Before the opening ceremony of the school, 25 children from the local families were registered as pupils.Adviser to the Azerbaijani embassy in France for political issues Eldar Mammadov, chairman of the State Committee on Work with Diaspora Fuad Muradov, Turkish Consul General in Nantes Ebrar Cubukcu, secretary of the Azerbaijani embassy for consular issues Zaur Farhadov, coordinator of the Coordination Council of Azerbaijanis of France – head of the Association of the Culture of Azerbaijanis of France, which operates in Nantes Togrul Zeynalov, chairmen and representatives of the Coordination Council’s member-organizations of the Coordination Council of Azerbaijanis of France attended the opening ceremony.While delivering the opening speech, Fuad Muradov spoke about the importance of the Karabakh school, which opened upon Mehriban Aliyeva’s instructions and stressed the importance of continuing such successful projects.Stressing that naming the school as "Karabakh" is of special political significance, the chairman said that more schools with this name will open in the future.He also stressed the importance of joint activity of the Azerbaijani and Turkish diasporas in France.In his speech, Turkish Consul General in Nantes Ebrar Cubukcu stressed that the opening ceremony of the Azerbaijani school in Nantes is an important and significant step.He stressed that the Turkish community operates near this school and close ties will be established between the community and the school in the future.Everyone who spoke at the ceremony said that the opening of such a school in France is an important step. More success will be achieved thanks to the diaspora policy being successfully pursued by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.The new school also has a library with books about Azerbaijan in French and Azerbaijani languages. The committee intends to expand the library of the school in the future.Children in national costumes read poems, performed the “Yally” dance and danced to “Sari Gelin” song during the opening ceremony of the school.This is the first important project implemented by representatives of embassies, as well as by individuals representing the Coordination Council. Expert: Azerbaijan can bring gas production to 50 bcm a year http://www.today.az/news/business/181737.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:17:00 +0400 By TrendApproximately by 2025 gas production in Azerbaijan can reach 50 billion cubic meters per year, Gulmira Rzayeva, Research Associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), director of Eurasia Analytics, said at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports.At the same time, she noted that the peak of gas production at Azerbaijani fields will be in 2022-2028.Speaking about gas production, Rzayeva mentioned that Europe will receive the first batch of gas through the Southern Gas Corridor in 2020. She added that the Southern Gas Corridor is a competitive project that can ensure the diversification of energy supply sources for Europe."Azerbaijan is looking for potential markets for the transportation of its resources and today Turkey is the most optimal market in terms of economic feasibility. The Turkish market has acquired particular relevance for Azerbaijan after the introduction of a new energy security strategy by Turkey. This strategy ensures security of supply, market predictability and diversification. All three factors are attractive for Azerbaijan," Rzayeva said.The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals was held in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discussed regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia were also reviewed. European tourists more interested in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181745.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:16:00 +0400 By TrendIn January-March 2019, 19,100 citizens of the European Union visited Azerbaijan, which is 2.8 percent more in comparison with the same period last year, Trend reports referring to the State Statistical Committee.During the first quarter of the year, 610,800 foreigners and stateless persons from 157 countries visited the country, which is a 2.9-percent decrease.Twenty eight percent of those who visited Azerbaijan were citizens of Georgia, 27.4 percent came from Russia, 11.3 percent from Turkey, 9.2 percent from Iran, 3.5 percent from the UAE, 1.8 percent from Ukraine, 1.7 percent from India, 1.4 percent from Iraq, and 15.6 percent from other countries. About 0.1 percent of the visitors were stateless persons.Men comprised the overwhelming majority (70.1 percent) of those who visited Azerbaijan, and women accounted for 29.9 percent.The largest decrease in the number of visitors was from Qatar (48.5 percent), Iran (43.4 percent), Israel (41.7 percent), the UAE (28.1 percent) and Iraq (24.8 percent).In the meantime, the number of arrivals from Egypt increased by 2.3 times, from India by 1.8 times, from Saudi Arabia by 1.8 times, from Turkmenistan by 1.6 times, from Pakistan by 1.5 times, from China by 46.1 percent, from Japan by 32.5 percent, from Georgia by 22.9 percent, and from Oman by 17.4 percent.The number of arrivals from the EU countries increased by 2.8 percent and reached 19,100 people, while the number of arrivals from the Gulf countries decreased by 33.1 percent and amounted to 106,800. The number of arrivals from the CIS countries decreased by 1.1 percent and amounted to 202,300 people.Sixty four percent of those arriving in Azerbaijan used rail and road transport, 35.2 percent used air transport, and 0.8 percent used water transport.In January-March 2019, the number of Azerbaijani citizens going to foreign countries increased by 28.9 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching 1.2 million people. Among all Azerbaijani tourists going abroad, men and women comprised 66.4 percent and 33.5 percent respectively.During this period, the number of those who went to Iran increased by 84.2 percent, the number of those who went to Georgia increased by 12.7 percent, to Russia by 7.4 percent, and to Turkey by 3 percent.For overseas travel, the Azerbaijani citizens mostly use rail and road transport, which accounted for 83.6 percent of all trips, while 15.6 percent accounted for air transport, and 0.8 percent for water transport. Azerbaijan to build four terminals in Iran http://www.today.az/news/business/181735.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:05:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Leman MammadovaAzerbaijan and Iran continue to initiate and actively participate in a number of projects to develop the region’s logistics potential.Azerbaijan Railways will build four terminals in the Iranian city of Astara, Elkhan Asadov, head of the Tariff Regulation Department at Azerbaijan Railways, said at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku.He said that these terminals include oil and grain terminals, a terminal for processing containers and a general-purpose terminal.Speaking about the activities of Azerbaijan Railways, Asadov noted that much work is being done to modernize trains and repair the railways. In particular, 7 of the 50 new locomotives purchased by Azerbaijan have already been delivered in the country.In addition, work continues on the simplification and processing of customs procedures.It is noteworthy that a cargo terminal was built in the Iranian city of Astara with the support of Azerbaijan in the first quarter of this year. The Azerbaijani side took the terminal for a 25-year lease. The capacity of the terminal, built as part of the North-South project, is 2 million tons annually, and it is planned to be increased to 5 million tons in the future.Iran sees Azerbaijan as a hub to reach larger regional markets. The cooperation on transportation between Iran and Russia through Azerbaijan is crucial in the realization of the International North-South Transport Corridor project.In 2017, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia lowered the tariffs by 50 percent for the activation of cargo transportation via the North-South international transport corridor. The increase in cargo transportation through the territory of Azerbaijan between Russia and Iran was 68 percent in the same year.International North-South Transport Corridor is designed to transport goods from India and the Gulf countries to Russia, Western Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia. The corridor was established in 2000 within an intergovernmental agreement between Russia, Iran and India. The main purpose of the agreement is to increase the efficiency of transport communications in the organization of freight and passenger transportation.The project envisages connecting India with the Middle East and the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. The purpose of the corridor is to reduce the delivery time to three weeks from India to Russia, as well as to North and Western Europe as the current route takes more than six weeks. If cargo transportation by sea through the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea to Helsinki is carried out within 45-60 days, the delivery time along the North-South corridor will be 20-25 days.In the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia signed an agreement in 2005 on the construction of the 375 km long Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway. It envisages the construction of a new railway line in Iran, which will connect Astara, Azerbaijan to the Iranian cities of Astara, Rasht and Qazvin as well as the reconstruction of an existing railway in Azerbaijan.The railway between the Astara regions of Azerbaijan and Iran has been completed. More than 270,000 tons of cargo has been transported through the Astara (Azerbaijan)-Astara (Iran) railway so far.The Qazvin-Rasht part of the railway was opened on March 6, 2019. Opening of the Qazvin-Rasht railway is a very important step towards the development of not only the North-South Corridor, but also the South-West Transport Corridor. The 164 km long Qazvin-Rasht railway is further connected to Anzali and Astara.The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway will be completed in two years.The expected volume of cargo on the corridor passing through the territory of Azerbaijan is 3 million tons at the first, 5-8 million tons at the second and 15 million tons at the third stage.Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Iran on customs will also contribute to expanding the transit potential of both countries and increasing the competitiveness of international transport. As part of the procedures regulated by the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets, the two countries discuss e-TIR Pilot project, which provides for full e-government of transit operations between Azerbaijan and Iran. Thomson Reuters analyst: BTC pipeline - way for supplying Caspian oil to external markets http://www.today.az/news/business/181734.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:46:00 +0400 By TrendThe Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is the key way for supplying oil from the Caspian region to the external markets, Gleb Gorodyankin, Thomson Reuters analyst, said, Trend reports on April 22.Gorodyankin made the remarks at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku.“At the same time, there are four key risk factors for oil supplies from the Caspian region to the world markets,” he added.“Firstly, this is competition with alternative types and volumes of oil, and secondly, a reduction in pipeline capacity,” Gorodyankin said. “Thirdly, these are political and economic changes and finally, fourthly, these are changes in supplies.”While speaking about the global energy market, he stressed the growing role of the US, which in the coming years may turn from an importer into the biggest oil exporter.“To a certain extent, the sanctions imposed on a number of leading oil exporters, in particular Iran and Venezuela, contribute to that,” he said.Gorodyankin said that the politicization of the energy market leads to the fierce competition among the producing countries.The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals kicked off in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discuss regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia will be also reviewed. Turkish Airlines launches new flight to Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181730.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:38:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Mirsaid IbrahimzadeCurrently, as many as 90 flights are operated weekly between Turkey and Azerbaijan. However, there is more to come.Turkish Airlines has launched direct flight Ankara-Baku-Ankara. First flight on this route was operated on April 22.The opening ceremony of the new flight at Heydar Aliyev International Airport was attended by Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral, Chief Human Resources Officer of Turkish Airlines Abdulkerim Cay and Head of the Turkish Airlines representative office in Azerbaijan Seyfulla Ilyas.Ilyas said that the airline will fly in three directions including Baku, Ganja and Nakhchivan. Flights from Ankara to Baku will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from Baku to Ankara - on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.Flights on the Ankara-Baku route are scheduled at 23:45 (departure) and 03:35 (arrival) local time and on the Baku-Ankara route - at 04:30 (departure) and 06:20 (arrival).Meanwhile, flights from Istanbul to Ganja and back will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights from Istanbul to Nakhchivan and in the opposite direction will also be carried out on Tuesdays and Saturdays.The company stated that these flights will be made daily starting from June 1, 2019.Baku increasingly spreads its flight map over the world. On April 2, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) launched regular flights on the Baku-Almaty-Baku route, which will contribute to the development of the country's tourist potential.Moreover, Azerbaijan’s low-cost airline Buta Airways has announced a new destination in Russia. Starting from May 12, the airline will launch direct flights from Baku to Ufa. Flights will be operated twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.Buta Airways will also launch direct flights from Baku to another two cities of Ukraine - Odessa and Kharkiv. Flights to Odessa will be operated starting from May 16 on Thursdays and Sundays, and those to Kharkiv – from May 3 on Tuesdays and Fridays.Also, Romanian TAROM airline launched Bucharest-Baku direct flights on April 3. Moreover, the first direct flight was launched from the capital of Azerbaijan to Sofia in early 2018.Several new charter flights were opened last year. For instance, AZAL launched flights on the Baku-Geneva route as part of a joint charter program.Currently, 21 foreign airlines are represented in the Azerbaijani market according to the State Civil Aviation Agency of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. They are ATA Airlines, Montenegro Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, Nordwind Airlines, Ikar Airlines, IrAero, Al-Naser Airlines, Pobeda Airlines, SalamAir, Komiavaiatrans, Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Wataniya Airways, Mahan Air, Taban Air, Israir, Arkia Israel Airlines, Flynas, Gulf Air, Smartavia and Pegasus Airlines.Last year, Heydar Aliyev International Airport set a new record for passenger traffic: it served a total of 4.43 million passengers, which is 9 percent higher than in 2017. In 2018, base airlines of the Airport - AZAL and Buta Airways - carried 1.89 million and 442,000 passengers, respectively. A total of 3.81 million passengers were carried on international flights and 620,000 passengers - on regional flights. Expert: Azerbaijan can bring gas production to 50 bcm a year http://www.today.az/news/business/181726.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:24:00 +0400 By  TrendApproximately by 2025 gas production in Azerbaijan can reach 50 billion cubic meters per year, Gulmira Rzayeva, Research Associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), director of Eurasia Analytics, said at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports.At the same time, she noted that the peak of gas production at Azerbaijani fields will be in 2022-2028.Speaking about gas production, Rzayeva mentioned that Europe will receive the first batch of gas through the Southern Gas Corridor in 2020. She added that the Southern Gas Corridor is a competitive project that can ensure the diversification of energy supply sources for Europe."Azerbaijan is looking for potential markets for the transportation of its resources and today Turkey is the most optimal market in terms of economic feasibility. The Turkish market has acquired particular relevance for Azerbaijan after the introduction of a new energy security strategy by Turkey. This strategy ensures security of supply, market predictability and diversification. All three factors are attractive for Azerbaijan," Rzayeva said.The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals was held in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discussed regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia were also reviewed. Thomson Reuters analyst: BTC pipeline - way for supplying Caspian oil to external markets http://www.today.az/news/business/181725.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:10:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is the key way for supplying oil from the Caspian region to the external markets, Gleb Gorodyankin, Thomson Reuters analyst, said, Trend reports on April 22.Gorodyankin made the remarks at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku.“At the same time, there are four key risk factors for oil supplies from the Caspian region to the world markets,” he added.“Firstly, this is competition with alternative types and volumes of oil, and secondly, a reduction in pipeline capacity,” Gorodyankin said. “Thirdly, these are political and economic changes and finally, fourthly, these are changes in supplies.”While speaking about the global energy market, he stressed the growing role of the US, which in the coming years may turn from an importer into the biggest oil exporter.“To a certain extent, the sanctions imposed on a number of leading oil exporters, in particular Iran and Venezuela, contribute to that,” he said.Gorodyankin said that the politicization of the energy market leads to the fierce competition among the producing countries.The 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals kicked off in Baku on April 22, 2019. Over 300 participants, including representatives of the biggest oil and gas companies, refineries, trading companies, ports, terminals, banks and analytical agencies attend the event annually.The participants of the 4th SOCAR Forum discuss regional gas projects; potential imbalances in the global hydrocarbon market in 2019; new oil and gas fields in the region and their impact on trade flows and export routes; Caspian and Central Asian oil in a global context; and key export markets for the region’s refineries and trade flows.Among other issues, trends in the global markets for petrochemical products including price trends, trade flows and technology development, and current state and prospects of Transcaucasian railway routes to the ports of Georgia will be also reviewed. Azerbaijani president congratulates newly-elected Ukrainian president http://www.today.az/news/politics/181724.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:52:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has congratulated newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.“I heartily congratulate you on the occasion of your election as president of Ukraine,” President Aliyev said.“Azerbaijan and Ukraine are bound together by friendly ties, which have rich traditions,” he added. “I believe that our intergovernmental relations, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, which clearly reflect these traditions, will continue developing and strengthening to the benefit of our peoples.”“I wish you the best of health, happiness and success in your future responsible activities for the prosperity of the friendly people of Ukraine,” the president said. Azerbaijan to build oil, grain, processing terminals in Iran http://www.today.az/news/business/181723.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:42:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan Railways will build four terminals in the Iranian city of Astara, Elkhan Asadov, head of tariff regulation department of Azerbaijan Railways, said at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports.According to him, among these terminals are oil and grain terminals, a terminal for processing containers and a general-purpose terminal.Speaking about the activities of Azerbaijan Railways, he noted that a lot of work is being done for modernizing the trains and repairing the railways. In particular, 7 of the 50 locomotives purchased by Azerbaijan have already been delivered to the country.Also, work continues on the simplification and processing of customs procedures.A cargo terminal was built in the Iranian city of Astara with the support of Azerbaijan during the first quarter of this year. The Azerbaijani side took the terminal for a 25-year lease. The capacity of the terminal, built as part of the North-South project, is 2 million tons annually, and is planned to be increased to 5 million tons in the future.The North-South international transport corridor is designed to transport goods from India and the Gulf countries to Russia, Western Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia. If cargo transportation by sea through the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea to Helsinki is carried out within 45-60 days, the delivery time along the North-South corridor will be 20-25 days. Currency rates for April 23 http://www.today.az/news/business/181733.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:34:00 +0400 By TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro against Azerbaijani manat for April 23 was set at 1.7 and 1.9126 manats respectively.Below are the rates of Azerbaijani manat against world currencies, according to the data from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan for April 23.CurrenciesApril 23, 20191 US dollar1 USD1.71 euro1 EUR1.91261 Australian dollar1 AUD1.21121 Argentine peso1 ARS0.0402100 Belarus ruble1 BYN0.81421 Brazil real1 BRL0.43191 UAE dirham1 AED0.46281 South African rand1 ZAR0.1199100 South Korean won100 KRW0.1491 Czech koruna1 CZK0.07441 Chilean peso100 CLP0.2561 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.25321 Danish krone1 DKK0.25621 Georgian lari1 GEL0.62991 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21671 Indian rupee1 INR0.02441 British pound1 GBP2.2079100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0121100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.0041 Swedish krona1 SEK0.18251 Swiss franc1 CHF1.67311 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.47311 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.27241 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.58841 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00451 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.0238100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11261 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.41191 Mexican peso1 MXP0.09021 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09541 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.09901 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.2000100 Uzbek soum100 UZS0.02031 Polish zloty1 PLN0.44641 Russian ruble1 RUB0.02661 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.25391 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.45331 SDR (Special Drawing Rights of IMF)1 SDR2.35811 Turkish lira1 TRY0.29161 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05511 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.18011 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.48571 Ukrainian hryvna1 UAH0.0639100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.51971 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.1342 President Ilham Aliyev allocates funding for construction of road in Gazakh http://www.today.az/news/politics/181731.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:23:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed an Order regarding measures to construct Dash Salakhli-Urkmazli-Damirchilar road in Gazakh.Under the presidential Order, the Azerbaijan Highway State Agency is allocated 6.8 million manats for the construction of the road connecting three residential areas with a total population of 13,000 people. Armenia violated ceasefire with Azerbaijan 25 times http://www.today.az/news/politics/181732.html Politics Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:15:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 25 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry stated on April 23, Trend reports.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. SOFAZ to launch online automated reporting system http://www.today.az/news/business/181728.html Business Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Mirsaid IbrahimzadeState Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), the state mechanism whereby the country's energy-related earnings are accumulated and efficiently managed, plans to launch an automated reporting system in the extractive industry."The agenda includes the issue of moving from annually published paper reports to systematic disclosure of information on a single website by introducing an automated reporting system to relevant government bodies (the so-called mainstreaming)," a source in the Fund told Trend.With the technical and financial support from the Asian Development Bank, the work is underway to define a mechanism for disclosing information about beneficial owners in the extractive industry.After Azerbaijan’s withdrawal from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in March 2017, the newly established Extractive Industries Transparency Commission, which published reports for 2016 and 2017, is in the process of preparing a report covering 2018.The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan established in 1999 with the assets of $271 million aims at efficient accumulation of resources and placement of assets abroad, as well as for the preservation and multiplication of funds received from the effective management of oil revenues in order to minimize the negative effect to the economy, prevention of "Dutch disease" to some extent, promotion of resource accumulation for future generations and support of current social and economic processes in Azerbaijan.SOFAZ revenues are formed primarily from revenues from the sale of oil, which remains at the disposal of Azerbaijan in accordance with production-sharing agreements.Budget revenues of SOFAZ reached 17.6 billion manats ($10.36 billion) in 2018, which is a 31.1 percent increase compared to 2017. As much as 10.9 billion manats ($6.41 billion) were transferred to the state budget.Speaking about support of the Asian Development Bank, it is important to note that ADB’s main objective is to facilitate the economic development of member countries and to help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of the population.In general, ADB has provided a $5.1 billion of loans, guarantees, grants and technical assistance for Azerbaijan so far.ADB’s program for Azerbaijan during 2011–2017 consisted of 47 projects. Energy was the largest sector supported, accounting for 42 percent ($2.1 billion) of total financing, followed by transport with 27 percent ($1.4 billion).The Asian Development Bank will allocate $815 million from its credit resources to Azerbaijan in 2019-2021. This is stated in the bank's three-year business plan. The bank will allocate $ 250 million to the country in 2019, $265 million in 2020, and $300 million in 2021. Azerbaijani ministry talks value of first tranche for problem loan compensations http://www.today.az/news/business/181721.html Business Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:00:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan’s Finance Ministry has allocated 350.8 million manats as part of the first tranche to pay compensations on problem loans to individuals in the country, Mais Piriyev, the spokesperson for the ministry, told Trend.He said that these funds have already been transferred to the accounts of banks and non-bank credit organizations, including those in the process of liquidation.The compensation payment of problem loans to individuals started in Azerbaijan on April 22, 2019. As expected, 602,347 people will receive compensation.Previously, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on additional measures in connection with solving the issue of the individuals’ problem loans. The decree envisages the payment of compensation to citizens whose loan burden increased as a result of the devaluation of the manat in February and December 2015.According to the decree, opportunities are created for restructuring both US dollar loans and manat loans with a delay of more than 360 days on concessional terms. If the amount of compensation exceeds 500 manats, these funds will be transferred to the account of the individual; otherwise, the payment will be made via money transfer.The corresponding plastic cards to be received by individuals are issued for a period of 1 year free of charge. Banks and postal operator are not entitled to charge a fee for issuing or conducting operations with these cards or for making money transfers. Baku International Sea Trade Port to be able to receive more cargo http://www.today.az/news/business/181722.html Business Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:49:00 +0400 By TrendAfter full completion of construction, the Baku International Sea Trade Port will become the biggest port in the Caspian Sea, Tural Aliyev, advisor to director general for transportation issues of the port, said, Trend reports.Aliyev made the remarks at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku.He stressed that the cargo transshipment potential of the Baku International Sea Trade Port will be increased up to 25 million tons per year in the future.Aliyev also stressed the importance of the free economic zone, being built in the Alat settlement, which will include the Baku port.He added that the free economic zone plays an important role in diversification of the economy."The creation of the free economic zone can help attract foreign investors, create new jobs and develop the economy not only in the country, but also in the region," Aliyev added.The cargo handling potential of the Baku port within the first phase is 15 million tons, including 100,000 containers per year. Seven berths, out of 12 existing ones, serve dry cargo vessels, two berths serve ferries, while two more berths serve vessels of the Ro-Ro and Ro-Pax type. One more berth is used to serve the flotilla of the port. Final investment decision on SOCAR GPC to be made before end of year http://www.today.az/news/business/181720.html Business Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:45:00 +0400 By TrendThe final investment decision on the SOCAR GPC plant will be made in the fourth quarter of 2019, Rauf Guliyev, Finance Director of SOCAR Polymer, said at the 4th SOCAR International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum on Trading, Logistics, Refining and Petrochemicals in Baku, Trend reports.According to him, construction works will begin in the first quarter of 2020, and the complex will be commissioned in the third quarter of 2023.The GPC plant is to built 15 kilometers away from Baku. Within the project, it is planned to build a gas processing and petrochemical complex with a capacity of about 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually (its plants will be the largest enterprises in the world in this segment), a gas-powered ethylene pyrolysis plant with a capacity of 610,000 tons, a propylene plant with a capacity of 130,000 tons and a polyethylene plant with a capacity of 600,000 tons as well as Butene-1 and Hexene-1 plants, general facilities and energy heat center.Engineering and construction works within the framework of SOCAR GPC project are planned to be carried out by HQC Company, which has extensive experience in the field of design, procurement and construction projects, with the support provided by Azerbaijani companies on the basis of projects prepared by the world’s leading licensors.The cost of the project, according to initial estimates, is approximately $4 billion. The ING Bank of the Netherlands, the State Development Bank of China and the Russian "Gazprombank" act as financial advisers to SOCAR GPC. The US Vinson & Elkins Company are international legal consultants, and PSG Company is engaged as a legal consultant in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani oil prices for April 15-19 http://www.today.az/news/business/181719.html Business Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:26:00 +0400 By TrendAverage price of AZERI LT CIF, extracted at Azerbaijan's Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of fields, was $74.07 per barrel on April 15-19, or $0.55 more than the previous week, Trendreports April 22.The highest price of AZERI LT was $74.5 per barrel, while the lowest price was $73.58 per barrel during the period.Azerbaijan sells AZERI LT via the Turkish port of Ceyhan and Georgian ports of Batumi and Supsa. The oil is supplied to Ceyhan via the BTC pipeline and to Georgia via the Baku-Supsa pipeline and railway.Azerbaijan sells the oil supplied via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline through Russia's Novorossiysk port.Average price of URALS (EX-NOVO) was $70.32 per barrel, which is $0.08 less than during the previous week.The highest price for URALS was $70.68 per barrel and the lowest price was $69.84 per barrel on April 15-19.Average price of Brent Dated was $70.99 per barrel on April 15-19 or $0.28 per barrel less than the previous week.The highest price for Brent was $71.19 per barrel and the lowest price was $70.87 during the period. EU eyes for new gas supplies from Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/181716.html Business Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:17:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Leman MammadovaAzerbaijan possesses new promising gas fields that can be used as additional sources to further expand Azerbaijan's gas export volume to Europe.European Union (EU) may be interested in gas supplies from fields that are yet to be developed in Azerbaijan.“As part of its security policy, the EU may be interested in further gas supplies from the Caspian Sea (for example, from new, not yet explored fields in Azerbaijan or from Turkmenistan) under suitable conditions,” the European Commission told Trend.As noted by the European Commission, it is important to emphasize that the EU’s energy diversification policy is aimed not only at new gas sources, but also at new supply routes. From this point of view, the European Commission stressed the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) for diversifying energy supplies to the EU.“Once the project is completed, the EU will receive 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Shah Deniz-2 in Azerbaijan. The capacity of the SGC can be easily expanded with more powerful compressor stations,” stated the organization.There are technical capabilities to expand this gas pipeline since SGC was originally designed in a way so that its capacity can be doubled.Earlier, BP, operator of Shah Deniz field, said that Azerbaijan’s fields such as Shafag-Asiman and Umid-Babek can be used to expand the SGC. As noted by the company, SGC can be expanded in two directions. The first direction includes Azerbaijan’s gas resources, and not only Shah Deniz, but also other fields, such as Shafag-Asiman, Umid-Babek, fields operated by SOCAR and other fields. The second direction includes gas resources of other countries. This question depends on the willingness and interest of these countries.The forecast reserves of the Shafag-Asiman block stand at 500 billion cubic meters of gas and 65 million tons of condensate. At the same time, Umid field has over 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 40 million tons of condensate. However, the reserves of the Babek structure may stand at 400 billion cubic meters of gas and 80 million tons of condensate, according to preliminary data.The SGC, a $40 billion worth project, envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey and Europe through the pipeline, which will be operated within the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas condensate field project in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Gas produced within Shah Deniz Stage 2 will be transported from the Caspian Sea to Europe, through Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and the seabed of the Adriatic Sea.The SGC consists of four projects: Shah Deniz 2, Expansion of South Caucasus Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum), the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).TAP, the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, is more than 85 percent complete, and gas transportation within the second stage of development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field will begin in 2020.Perhaps SGC is one of the most ambitious projects in the world oil and gas industry, as well as a complex target that involves many different stakeholders, including seven governments and 11 companies.On May 29, 2018, Baku hosted the launch of the first phase of the SGC project, and on June 12, the opening ceremony of the TANAP took place in the Turkish province of Eskisehir.The first gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field has already gone through the first segment of the SGC - from the Sangachal terminal to the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline.Recently, TAP and TANAP successfully completed their connection on the banks of the Merich River on the Turkish-Greek border.