In which sector mainly should the Caspian countries cooperate:
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GEORGIA CHALLENGES RUSSIA'S WTO BID
Negotiators aiming to speed up Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization overcame objections from Georgia during talks in Geneva on Monday, after Tbilisi threatened to block negotiations because of Moscow's decision to boost support for Georgia's separatist republics.
Georgia's tough stance at the talks showed that Russia still faces an uphill battle in its 15-year drive to join the world trade body. After reaching a bilateral deal with the United Arab Emirates last week, Russia only needs agreements with Georgia and Saudi Arabia, as well as approval from the multilateral talks in Geneva, to join the WTO.
The WTO took a "great step forward" in its membership talks with Russia in Geneva, said Stefan Haukur Johannesson, chairman of the negotiations and Iceland's ambassador to the EU, news agencies reported.
Yet, speaking to reporters in Tbilisi, Georgian First Deputy Economy Minister Vakhtang Lezhava for the first time linked heightened tensions with Russia to WTO membership.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED â€“ YAN KUBIS
The recommendations by international organizations and Ago group should be implemented on the threshold of presidential elections in Azerbaijan, Yan Kubis, the Chairman of Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe stated to journalists.
AZERBAIJAN PREPARES NEXT ROUND OF MULTILATERAL TALKS ON ENTRANCE TO WTO
After two years break, Azerbaijan will hold next round of multilateral talks on entrance to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The multilateral talks of Azerbaijan Government with the working group will take place on 6 May in Geneva, Azerbaijanâ€™s Ambassador to Switzerland, Elchin Amirbeyov, reported to TrendNews on 26 April.
THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE CASPIAN SEA: DISCUSSIONS ON DIFFERENT IRANIAN VIEWS
All forecast of future global oil demand point to an increasing trend for the years to come. The forecast by OPECâ€™s World Energy Model suggests a world oil demand of about 84 million barrels per day in 2005, around 91 mb/d by 2010, close to 97 mb/d by 2015 and about 103 mb/d by 2020. OPEC members would have to come up with a crude oil and NGL production of about 36 mb/d in 2005, 41 mb/d in 2010, 47.8 mb/d in 2015 and 54.6 mb/d in 2020.
The security of energy supply to Asia/Pacific is becoming a big issue. By 2010, Asian/Pacific demand for oil would reach 33.5 million b/d if consumption growth averages 5% per annum. China alone could be consuming 7.2 mb/d by 2010 and 10.7 mb/d by 2020. Oil production in Asia/Pacific might decline from its current level of 6.3 mb/d. The Middle East would not be able to meet Asian /Pacific demand by then. The Caspian oil supply is important from that perspective.
In recent years, Iran has been holding a share in OPEC production in the range of 13 to 14 per cent. In order to maintain this share, Iran would need to produce at least 4.7 mb/d in 2005, increasing it thereafter by approximately 160000 b/d per year, reaching 7.1 mb/d by the year 2020. As a result Iran needs to develop adequate volumes to not only counter the natural decline in the present production but also to meet the required additional production capacities. It goes without saying that with proven oil reserves of over 90 billion barrels, Iran has more than enough potential but, with a present capacity of over 4mb/d much work needs to be done and this means a very intense level of activities specially in attraction of foreign investments, new technologies, exploring new fields and extensive EOR operations in many of Iranâ€™s giant older fields.
Iranâ€™s recent activities in oil and gas industries are very interesting. These are like two-dimensional blanket seismic of the Iranian part of Persian Gulf, negotiations over buy-back agreement on Dar Khuwain field and development of new field of Azadegan with 26 billion barrels, Bangestan reservoirs in Ahwaz, gas injection in the Asmari reservoir of the Agha Jari (about 2 billion cubic feet per day with additional oil recovery in the range of 1.7 to 3 billion barrels) and South Pars gas reserve around 460 TCF in the Persian Gulf.
In the conditions of growing uncertainty at the world oil market, related with Iraqi conflict the situation with Caspian oil continues to remain indefinite as well.
Last weeks were saturated with the information, to some extent reflecting the political and economic facets of the problem: Russian company "Lukoil" left the project "Azeri-chirag-Guneshli", a scandal in "Tengizchevroil", a possibility that the American company "Kerr McGee" will leave Kazakhstan, an active opposition of Russian company "Transneft" to the "quality bank" at the Caspian Pipeline Consortium pipeline and other.
In relation with this quite characteristic was the news about the transfer of the date of the meeting between representatives of five Caspian countries at the level of deputy foreign ministers. The eigth meeting of the working group, previously planned on 19-20 November in Baku dedicated to the issues of the legal status of Caspian Sea, was transferred at the beginning of December, moreover that decision was not final as of yet and could be changed in the future. At the preceding, July meeting of the working group in Teheran, the "consensus" solution of the problem, as it is known, in fact did not move from the dead point.
DIVISION OF THE CASPIAN
Russia's recent effort to claim unilaterally its northern seabed to the North Pole has highlighted the race to divide the globe's remaining waters for nation's benefits. Besides the Arctic, these include Antarctica and the Caspian. Of the three, the Caspian is the most hotly contested, as extraction efforts are already under way, and the battle involves not only the riverain powers Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, but behind them, massive Western investment thirsty for access to the region's hydrocarbons.
THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE CASPIAN SEA
(The following is a summary of a panel discussion held at The Middle East Institute on September 19, 2001. The principal speakers were Dr. Elmar Mamedyarov, Chargé dâ€™Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Dr. Bahman Diba, a former Iranian diplomat, now a consultant and specialist on international and legal affairs. Dr. Michael Collins Dunn, editor of The Middle East Journal, served as moderator.)
In his introductory remarks, Michael Dunn recounted the circumstances and significance of the July 23rd confrontation between an Iranian military vessel and an Azerbaijani ship conducting geophysical studies in disputed waters of the Caspian Sea. This incident, Dunn asserted, was a stark reminder that the apportioning of offshore rights has not yet been resolved to the satisfaction of the five Caspian littoral states. Dunn noted that the principal documents pertaining to the legal status of the Caspian are treaties signed by Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940. Iran has insisted that the provisions of these treaties still apply, while the positions of the other littoral states (i.e., Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan) have varied. Dunn pointed out that the dispute has not deterred the parties from pursuing exploration, signing contracts, or entering bilateral pacts on how to divide the Caspian. Yet, at the same time, the continuation of the status quo runs the risk of repeated incidents and heightened tensions of the kind that occurred this past July.