By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijani sees great potential for increasing mutual investments with Kazakhstan, Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Energy, said at the 16th meeting of Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation in Baku, on October 9.
Shahbazov noted that since 1995, Azerbaijan has invested $200 million in the economy of Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstani investments in Azerbaijan’s economy amounted to $83 million.
In his words, bilateral trade between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan has reached a record growth in recent years. “The trade between the two countries increased by 55.4 percent reaching approximately $ 221 million in 2018.”
Moreover, Azerbaijani exports grew by 36.1 percent, while imports from Kazakhstan increased by 61.5 percent.
As for this year, Shahbazov added that trade turnover between the two countries grew by 11 percent totaling $168 million between July and August.
He stressed that Azerbaijan’s Trading House, to be opened by late 2019 in the city of Nur-Sultan, will allow to export more goods, adding that cooperation in energy, transport, agriculture etc. will contribute to the development of both countries.
Shahbazov went on to note that KazTransGas JSC is interested in the transit of liquefied gas from Kazakhstan through Azerbaijan. “Today they are ready to supply 10,000-15,000 tons per month. Work is underway to optimize tariffs.”
He added that discussions are also underway with Kazakhstan on the export of Kazakhstani oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC).
“SOCAR Trading transported 1.5 million tons of Kazakhstani oil through Azerbaijan in 2018. Following the results of first nine months of 2019, this volume has reached 1.6 million tons of oil,” he said.
In turn, Kanat Bozumbayev, noted that Kazakhstan currently does not yet have large volumes of oil for transportation via BTC, while in the future, the volume of pumping through this pipeline can reach 1-4 million tons per year.
“We associate the increase in oil resources with three fields, including Tengiz, Karachaganak and Kashagan. In the years 2022-2023, oil production at the Tengiz field is expected to increase by 12-13 million tons per year,” he said.
Bozumbayev added that the issue of using other fields in Kazakhstan, from which oil could be delivered via the BTC, is currently under discussion.
In his words, these volumes can range from one to four million tons per year. “Tariff issues are being considered now, and I think that the results will be achieved by late 2019.”
He also emphasized that in the conditions of low oil prices it is necessary to look for the most effective ways to deliver oil to the world market.
In addition, mutual information sharing is recommended to ensure participation of Azerbaijani companies in infrastructure projects and other industries in Kazakhstan.
Moreover, holding the second meeting of the relevant working group in the first half of next year and the cooperation on renewable energy have also been agreed.
The sides decided to continue the work on increasing the competitiveness of the Trans-Caspian international transport route passing through Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and attracting international freight on this route.
The launch of the feeder ship on Aktau-Baku route since this year has been noted as a positive moment. Kazakhstan also showed great interest in the transportation of goods via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway
In addition, joint activities on specific areas to deepen cooperation in agriculture and other areas have been identified.
Shahbazov and Bozumbayev signed a protocol on the outcome of the 16th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The 17th meeting of the Commission will be held in 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz