Major events in Caspian countries' oil and gas industry for last week (Feb. 16-20)

Azerbaijan is ready to sell stake in TAP to Greece

SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) is ready to sell some stake in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to the Greek side, SOCAR's senior representative said.
SOCAR is open to such proposal, the statement says.

"If Greece wants to buy any share, we are ready to sell it," the statement says. "But the main requirement for the Greek side is that it must settle the account on time. If there is such a company, SOCAR is ready to give it some share by reselling it. We want this pipeline to be more "Greek". Our wishes coincide. Another thing is to find a solvent company not to delay the construction of the pipeline and the Southern Gas Corridor project implementation."

Working group to be created as part of master plan for Albania's gas supply

Azerbaijan and Albania have reached an agreement on creating a special working group to work out the feasibility study of the master plan for Albania's gas supply, a message posted on the official website of Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR) said.

The feasibility study of the master plan for Albania's gas supply was broadly discussed during a meeting between SOCAR delegation and the representatives of the Albanian government in Tirana, according to the message.

KazTransOil's participation in new investment projects to lower credit rating - S&P

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its long-term corporate credit ratings on Kazakhstan-based oil pipeline operator KazTransOil (KTO) to 'BB+' from 'BBB-'.The outlook is negative.

KTO has a solid market position and limited competition from rail and tanker transport, owing to Kazakhstan's land-locked location, geographic isolation from the Caspian Sea, and the low cost of pipeline transportation.

However, S&P assesses country risk in Kazakhstan as "high," and we consider tariff regulation to be opaque and irregularly revised.

S&P revises outlook on ratings for KazTransGas to negative

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it affirmed its 'BB+' long-term corporate credit ratings on Kazakh gas utility company KazTransGas (KTG) and its 100 percent owned gas pipeline operator Intergas Central Asia JSC (ICA).

It revised the outlook on both companies to negative from stable.

The agency also affirmed the 'BB+' rating on the senior unsecured debt and withdrew the recovery rating of '4'.

Rig for bitumen production commissioned at refinery in Turkmenistan

Westport Trading Europe Limited (USA) Company has commissioned a rig for the production of bitumen at the Seydi oil refinery in Turkmenistan, the newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan said.

"The design capacity of the production is provided for processing of 118,000 metric tons of fuel oil in the year, from which 37,200 metric tons of high quality petroleum bitumen will be produced annually," the newspaper said.

The publication said that it is the first rig for Turkmenistan, the work of which is based on the process of viscosity breaking of oil raw materials which makes it possible to process heavy oil residues. Enabling viscosity breaking will increase the volume of bitumen produced at the plant and increase the depth of oil refining, Neutral Turkmenistan said.

Ashgabat comments on reduction of Turkmen gas purchases by Russia

Turkmenistan has always fulfilled and continues fulfilling its obligations on gas export, a message from the country's Ministry of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources said.

The remarks were made about Turkmenistan's obligations on gas supply to Russia, according to the message.

An explosion occurred on the Turkmen section of the Central Asia-Center gas pipeline in April 2009 due to the sharp decline in gas intake by Gazprom JSC, the ministry said. The export of Turkmen gas to Russia was temporarily suspended at that time.

The gas supply from Turkmenistan to Russia was resumed in January 2010. However, due to the position of Russia partners, the volume of Turkmen gas supply to Russia was reduced from 40-45 billion cubic meters to 11 billion cubic meters per year.

The Russian side announced the reduction of the volume of Turkmen gas purchases from 11 billion cubic meters to 4 billion cubic meters per year in 2015, said the Ministry of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources.

Deputy chairman of the board of Gazprom JSC Alexander Medvedev said in early February 2015 that Russia has decided to reduce the volume of gas purchases from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in order to meet the domestic and export demand with its own resources, the ministry said.

The ministry stressed that this once again shows that Turkmenistan hasn't violated its obligations on gas supply to Russia.

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Trilateral Statement on Karabakh has no secret clauses - Russian FM
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Armenian side didn't provide lists of prisoners of war immediately and completely - Lavrov
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