18 May, 2006
President Islam Karimov visits Navoiy region
President Islam Karimov visits Bukhara
New diagnostic centre opened in Bukhara
Uzbek MPs review foreign policy, security in Central Asia
Israeli envoy to Uzbekistan praises bilateral relations
Financial intelligence department was created
International conference discusses oil and gas sector in Central Asia
Central Asia enjoy significant hydrocarbon reserves - Uzbek official
Uzbekistan planning to boost gas exports in 2006
Gazprom to expand capacity of Central Asia-Centre gas pipeline
Gazprom, Uzbekistan to sign long-term gas deal
Lukoil plans yearly produce of 10-12 bln cubic meters of Uzbek gas
Tashkent, Yaroslavl Commerce Chambers sign cooperation agreement
Sub-commission on Uzbek-Russian interbank cooperation meets in Tashkent
Windows, Building and Decorart exhibition to be held in June
Uzbekistan Airways participates in exhibition in Athens
Seminar to raise foreign NGOs' awareness of local laws was held
Uzbek police seize nearly 2 kg of heroin in eastern town of Kokand
PRESIDENT ISLAM KARIMOV VISITS NAVOIY REGION
The President Islam Karimov arrived in Navoiy region on 18 May for acquaintance with a course of social and economic reforms. Uzbek leader familiarized with construction works in city airport.
- Each airport has its strategic value. According to its location Navoiy airport has especially great value, - said Islam Karimov. President has analysed construction work, and gave recommendations and task on improvement of works, and also elimination of lacks to corresponding officials.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov has visited a machine-building plant belonging to the Navoiy Mining and Metallurgical Combine, the country's largest gold producer in central Uzbekistan.
The Navoiy machine-building plant is a major enterprise in the structure of the Navoiy Mining and Metallurgical Combine. The president inspected workshops that manufacture remote-control electronic lathes and tools for making threads. The plant's output is in great demand not only in Uzbekistan but also in the CIS, in particular at Russian industrial enterprises.
PRESIDENT ISLAM KARIMOV VISITS BUKHARA
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, going for a trip on 18 May to familiarize with realization of socioeconomic reforms in the regions, made his way to Bukhara after visiting Navoi region.
Uzbek leader viewed the new constructions, visited some spiritual-enlightenment and medical establishments.
His trip to Bukhara region started with the visit of the Central Park. Uzbek leader visited Square of Memory, built on the park`s territory on the eve of 9 May 2006 – the Day of Memory and Honour.
NEW DIAGNOSTIC CENTRE OPENED IN BUKHARA
The visit of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to Bukhara region is continuing. Special attention in the region is paid to strengthening of the population's health, further improvement of the level of medical servicing.
In line with the gradually implemented programme "The year of charity of medical workers", a modern diagnostic centre equipped with advanced facilities has been constructed in Bukhara.
President Karimov took part in the opening of this medical centre. He noted that the medical establishments built in the country have great importance in protection and strengthening of the population's health.
UZBEK MPS REVIEW FOREIGN POLICY, SECURITY IN CENTRAL ASIA
Uzbek MPs discussed the main priorities of the country's regional security policy during a 12 May parliament session. A programme entitled "Parliament Faoliati" (Actions of Parliament), broadcast by Uzbek Radio on 13 May summarized the results of this discussion.
The lower house chairman of international affairs and inter-parliamentary communications, Muhammad Yusuf Teshaboyev, outlined the main priorities of the Uzbek foreign policy. "Questions of security in Central Asia and fighting new threats in the region, Iran's nuclear programme and the process of banning nuclear weapons, as well as problems of making Central Asia a nuclear-free zone in accordance with international laws, are regarded as important in Uzbekistan's foreign policy. Moreover, in my opinion, it is important to mention that Uzbekistan pays special attention to developing cooperative relations with Western countries, the European Union, the USA and Japan, which is one of the broader aspects of the country's foreign policy," he said.
The chairman of the lower house's committee on defence and security issues, Axtam Tursunov emphasized the role of Uzbek national interests in the country's foreign policy. "As our president emphasized in his speech, and, in the interview he gave to journalists on 9 May, our policy is being conducted in line with our national interests. Admittedly, we need to promote the policy of peace and stability, with the interests of our people in mind, which is an integral part of our country's and our people's interests," he noted.
Additionally, Akhtam Tursunov identified regional dangers and how the Uzbek foreign policy should address them. "Our region has turned into a dangerous zone because the interests of large countries collide here. On one side, we have Russia's interest, from another - China's, yet from another side there are US interests as well, and so on. Moreover, there is the problem of our neighbouring countries arming themselves with nuclear weapons. This, too, attests to the fact that our region is a dangerous zone. Therefore, the essence of our foreign policy must be striving to counter this danger through very delicate steps, keeping our people's peace in mind," Tursunov said. The head of a Foreign Ministry department, Komil Rashidov, discussed how the Uzbek foreign policy relates to security issues related to Afghanistan. "In this sphere, our main duties are resolving the problems of drug trafficking and the use of Uzbekistan's resources in joint projects on rebuilding this country," he said.
ISRAELI ENVOY TO UZBEKISTAN PRAISES BILATERAL RELATIONS
The Israeli ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Uzbekistan, Emmanuel Mel hailed the relations between Uzbekistan and Israel in his interview with a correspondent of the Uzbek paper BVV.
"Israel is a very developed country, with big experience in resolving many issues. We wish to share it and are always ready for cooperation especially in such spheres as medicine, agriculture, TV communications and the fight against terrorism. A number of projects in these spheres have been implemented in Uzbekistan," Mel said.
Speaking on Israeli embassy's efforts in the development of business and agricultural sector in Uzbekistan, the envoy said: "Not far from our embassy in Tashkent we have an advisory office where we help Uzbek businessmen working in the agricultural sphere to find partners in Israel".
He went on to say: "The leading Israeli companies have been invited by your president to work in the Uzbek market."
Emmanuel Mel added that Uzbekistan "has a big potential" and as an ambassador, he has "a goal to offer maximum assistance in the development of our mutual relations".
FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT WAS CREATED
A financial intelligence department has been established under the Prosecutor-General's Office of Uzbekistan in line with a presidential resolution.
The functions of the department will include, among other things, monitoring of financial transactions as stipulated by law; analysis of forms and methods used in the laundering of criminal proceeds and in providing financial or other support to terrorist organizations; and also introducing a unified, centralized computer system for keeping records of the mentioned violations of the law.
From 1 January 2007, monetary transactions to the tune of 4,000 times the minimum wage and more are subject to obligatory auditing. The minimum wage in Uzbekistan today is 9,400 soums.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE DISCUSSES OIL AND GAS SECTOR IN CENTRAL ASIA
International conference "Silk Road of 21st century: role of oil and gas sector in integration of Central Asian states" opened in Tashkent on Wednesday, 17 May.
The conference is organized within the 10th jubilee international exhibition Oil and Gas Uzbekistan (OGU-2006).
Opening the conference, Ergash Shoismatov, Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, said the forum would open new opportunities to cooperation in oil and gas sector. He said that the conference would assist to integration of Uzbekistan to world economy. Two-day conference attended by over 500 delegates, representing oil and gas sector and such companies as Lukoil, Petronas, Gazprom.
The participants will discuss issues on oil and gas sector in Central Asia, in particular Uzbekistan, investments to the sector, introduction of new technologies and others.
CENTRAL ASIA ENJOY SIGNIFICANT HYDROCARBON RESERVES - UZBEK OFFICIAL
The countries of Central Asia, enjoying significant explored reserves of hydrocarbons, are now taking active part in international cooperation in the power sector, First Deputy of the Chairman, Senior Manager of Uzbekneftegaz said at the international conference in Tashkent.
According to data of statistical surveys, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, taken together, account for 5.6 billion tonnes of known oil reserves (34% and 3.5% of the total explored reserves in the CIS and in the world, respectively).
As far as the known reserves of natural gas are concerned, these countries account for 7.76 trillion cubic metres, or 13.2% of its reserves available in the CIS or about 4% of world reserves.
By the estimates of experts from the International Power Agency, in such Asian countries as China, India, South Korea and Japan, demand for power resources is growing at a faster clip than in other parts of the globe: annually, their oil and gas consumption rates increase by 3-4% and 4-6%, correspondingly.
According to some relevant forecasts, the world's consumption of power resources may grow by one-third in the near 15 years and approximately by 45% - within the next two decades.
Global demand for oil, according to the same forecasts, may swell by 35 million b/d by the year 2025 (up 42%), with demand for natural gas increasing by 1.7 trillion c. m. (up 60%).
All things considered, one can conclude that it is high time to start shaping new civilized market relationships in the oil-and-gas sector on the Eurasian continent.
To successfully tackle this problem, major exporters and consumers of raw hydrocarbons, including the states of the Central Asian region, need to consolidate their efforts in this field.
The Republic of Uzbekistan is located at the heart of Central Asia, northwards of Afghanistan. Occupying the territory of some 447,400 sq. km., the country has a population of more than 26 million.
Uzbekistan has been producing oil in the space of more than a century, and gas - within some 5 decades.
The modern oil-and-gas sector of Uzbekistan is one of the biggest industries of the national economy and represents the backbone of the country's power base. An accelerated development of the fuel-and-power sector is a priority direction of economic policy pursued by the Uzbek Government.
At present, Uzbekneftegaz is the world's 12th largest producer of natural gas. The National Holding Company Uzbekneftegaz, with a vertically integrated structure, accounts for 18% of the Uzbekistan's industrial output. Its 190 enterprises employ 77,000 workers. Each year, the company extracts more than 60 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 6.5 million tonnes of liquid hydrocarbons.
Majitov said as many as 190 deposits of raw hydrocarbons have been discovered in Uzbekistan, of them 90 deposits are under development and 67 are prepared to development. At the remaining 37 deposits, geological exploration works are in process.
Uzbek official said several investment projects are being implemented in the oil and gas sector with attraction of foreign investments.
He said that the cooperation with leading oil and gas companies is becoming important. He said Uzbekneftegaz has prepared a package of new investment blocks for foreign investors. Uzbekneftegaz is ready to cooperate with foreign investors in a number of ways, including via creation of joint venture, participation as investor in product-sharing agreement, provision f contract-related risk services and others.
UZBEKISTAN PLANNING TO BOOST GAS EXPORTS IN 2006
Uzbekistan plans to increase its exports of natural gas from 11.5 billion cubic metres in 2005 to 12.6 billion cubic metres in 2006, a deputy chairman of UZBEKNEFTEGAZ Shavkat Majitov said. Majitov said the country will export 9 billion cubic metres of gas to Gazprom, up from 8.15 billion cubic metres in 2005.
Uzbekistan exports to neighbouring countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan will also increase from 3.35 billion cubic metres in 2005 to 3.6 billion cubic metres in 2006.
GAZPROM TO EXPAND CAPACITY OF CENTRAL ASIA-CENTRE GAS PIPELINE
Gazprom, Russian gas giant, is planning to increase capacity of Central Asia-Centre gas pipeline from 44 billion cubic metres of gas per year to 80 billion cubic metres, a senior official of Gazprom said in Tashkent on 17 May.
Alexander Ryazanov, deputy chairman of Gazprom, said at the international conference "Silk Road of 21st century: role of oil and gas sector in integration of Central Asian states" Gazprom is ready to expand capacity of the pipeline, but Turkmenistan needs to confirm its reserves and Gazprom and Uzbekistan should sign product sharing agreement on deposits in Ustyurt (Karakalpakstan). He said that Uzbekneftegaz carried out measures to expand capacity of the pipeline to 50 billion cubic metres.
Ryazanov said Gazprom started to drill wells in Ustyurt. He said some US$400 million will be invested to exploration and gas production in Usyurt. He said this will allow to produce 8-9 billion cubic gas per year and export them to Russia and further to Europe.
Gazprom is purchasing gas for US$60 per 1,000 cubic metres, Ryazanov said. He said that during formation of price expenses and risks of Gazprom on export of gas to Europe should be taken into account. He said the Gazprom is ready to consider formula on price formation, which will take into account global trends and gas prices will be automatically changed.
Central Asia-Centre gas pipeline locates in territories of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and it is used on gas supplies from Central Asia to Russia and further to Europe.
GAZPROM, UZBEKISTAN TO SIGN LONG-TERM GAS DEAL
Uzbekistan and Russian gas company Gazprom plan to sign a more flexible long-term gas supply deal with a price formula that will reflect global gas prices, a senior Uzbek energy official said on Thursday.
"We plan to start using it from next year. The whole world is using this scheme, so that's why we're doing this," said Irkin Vagapov, deputy head of Uzbekneftegaz, state oil and gas company.
So far Gazprom and Uzbekistan have used gas supplies deals with a fixed yearly price. Gazprom has pushed Uzbekistan to agree to a more flexible scheme.
Uzbekistan produces about 60 billion cubic metres of gas a year. It exported 8.15 billion cubic metres to Gazprom last year for US$44 per 1,000 cubic metres. This year's supply plan is 9 billion cubic metres for US$60 per 1,000 cubic metres.
As earlier reported, Gazprom's deputy chairman Alexander Ryazanov proposed this scheme during the oil and gas conference on Wednesday, 17 May.
LUKOIL PLANS YEARLY PRODUCE OF 10-12 BLN CUBIC METERS OF UZBEK GAS.
Lukoil will be annually producing 10-12 billion cubic meters of gas in Uzbekistan several years from now, CEO Vagit Alekperov said on Tuesday. "The company will invest $1 billion in survey and production, and will annually produce 10-12 cubic meters of gas in several years," he said at a Tuesday ceremony, which started the construction of the Lukoil Tashkent office. Lukoil Uzbekistan Operating Company represents Lukoil interests in Uzbekistan. It develops Kandym gas blocs in southwestern Uzbekistan on the production sharing terms. The gas will be exported to Russia and Europe. Uzbek gas deliveries to Russia started in May 2003. The supplies are planned at 9 billion cubic meters for this year. All in all, Uzbekistan produces about 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Uzbekistan is of large interest for Russia, Alekperov said at the opening ceremony of the tenth international exhibition entitled "Oil and Gas of Uzbekistan. "Our company is proud that it was one of the first to start working in Uzbekistan," he said. "Believe me, we will soon witness the creation of thousands of jobs in the local oil and gas industry." Uzbek President Islam Karimov invited Russian companies to privatization projects in Uzbekistan at last week's meeting with President Vladimir Putin. "Russian companies are welcome to take part in privatization of strategic facilities, so that they are not merely market dealers but owners of important industrial sites," he said.
TASHKENT, YAROSLAVL COMMERCE CHAMBERS SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tashkent and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yaroslavl (Russia) signed agreement on cooperation.
The agreement was signed in Tashkent during the meeting of leadership of two chambers. Valentin Lavrov, president of Yaroslavl chamber, said the region can offer wide-scale products and services to Uzbekistan. In particular, he said, the region can provide equipment to Uzbekistan.
During the meeting, the sides presented their opportunities. The sides agreed to hold industrial exhibition in autumn 2006.
Sadriddin Hakimov, chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tashkent, said that economic cooperation between Uzbekistan and Russia is boosting and trade turnover between countries can reach US$20 billion by 2010.
SUB-COMMISSION ON UZBEK-RUSSIAN INTERBANK COOPERATION MEETS IN TASHKENT
The third session of sub-commission on interbank cooperation between Uzbekistan and Russia met in Tashkent on 10 May.
Representatives of the Uzbek banking sector participated in the session. The Russian side was represented by Bank of Russia, Vnesheconombank, Vneshtorgbank, Interstate Bank, Sberbank and others.
The sides discussed expansion of cooperation, harmonization of legislation and legal acts in banking sector, development of project financing, training of staff and others.
First two meeting of the sub-commission was held in Tashkent in January 2005 and Moscow in August 2005. Uzbekistan Banking Association and Regional Banks Assosiation of Russia signed agreement on bilateral cooperation during the first meeting.
During first two meetings, the sides considered broadening of cooperation in banking sector and harmonization of legislation of two states, exchange of information and others. The sides noted that those decisions were implemented.
WINDOWS, BUILDING AND DECORART EXHIBITION TO BE HELD IN JUNE
International exhibition Windows, Building and Decorart will be held on 8-11 June, organisers of the event said at the press conference in Tashkent on 16 May.
Interatlas (Turkey) and SSP-EXPOCONTACT of Uzbek Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized the exhibition at the support of Uzkorgazmasavdo, Turkish embassy in Tashkent, Uzbek embassy in Turkey and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The exhibition aimed at promotion of further development of construction materials, introduction of new technologies to construction, designing of buildings, production of construction materials with attraction of foreign companies to Uzbekistan and others.
Over 80 companies from Turkey, Uzbekistan and CIS countries will participate in Windows, Building and Decorart.
Edjer Tash, president of Interatlas, said plastic windows and everything connected with equipment of flats are popular now. He said that some Turkish companies already have sent their products to Tashkent.
Ildar Zagrudinoc, deputy director of SSP-EXPOCONTACT, said it is necessary to develop industry on production of plastic windows and doors. He said the exhibition will demonstrate new equipment on this direction.
UZBEKISTAN AIRWAYS PARTICIPATES IN EXHIBITION IN ATHENS
Uzbekistan Havo Yollari (Uzbekistan Airways) participated in the 11th international tourist exhibition "Touristiko Panorama 2006" organized in Athens, Greece. The purpose of this exhibition was the development of national, regional and international tourism. Over 224 representatives of tourist service providers, air companies, hotels and restaurants from Europe, Asia and Africa have partaken in "Touristiko Panorama".
The negotiations with tour operators and air carriers were held within the framework of this event. The exhibition stand of Uzbekistan Airways was visited with the Prime Minister of Greece.
SEMINAR TO RAISE FOREIGN NGOS' AWARENESS OF LOCAL LAWS WAS HELD
A seminar aimed to familiarize foreign charity and education NGOs with Uzbek legislation regulating their activities was held at the Institute of Civil Society Studies on 15 May. The event was organized at the initiative of the Uzbek Justice Ministr.
Representatives of foreign nongovernmental organizations accredited in Uzbekistan were invited to the event. Justice Ministry officials presented a review and a comparative analysis of Uzbek legislation relating to foreign NGOs.
In experts' opinion, the need for conducting the seminar was, most likely, caused by a recent rise in instances when the activities of foreign NGOs' representative offices did not comply with their statutory goals or breached Uzbek legislation, the report said.
UZBEK POLICE SEIZE NEARLY 2 KG OF HEROIN IN EASTERN TOWN OF KOKAND
Uzbek police detained drug dealers, while selling criminal goods, the press service of the Uzbek Ministry of Internal Affairs said on 17 May.
During an operation by officers of the Kokand town interior department (Fargona Region) two residents of a nearby village were detained at a private shop, located in Charhiy district, as one was selling the other 92.4 g of heroin.
"A search of the criminals' house showed that they were preparing a bigger consignment of drugs - 1,648 g of heroin - for selling," the representative of the press service noted. An investigation into this case is under way, the press service added.