print logo

Exxon in bid to resume Russian JV

Exxon Mobil has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from US sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its Black Sea joint venture with state oil giant Rosneft, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal; but (more…)

wsj Read More»

Brexit draws UK companies to Iran despite shadow of sanctions

Iranian power plant at ShazandWith the prospect of Brexit limiting their ability to operated within the EU, UK firms are cautiously turning to the attention the opportunities potentially on offer from Iran’s $600bn anticipated boom in trade and infrastructure investment over the next ten years.
With the Islamic Republic about to embarking on an ambitious investment drive after years of international isolation, the authorities in Tehran are expected to be looking overseas for the finance it requires for a number of key projects, including the expansion of its 10,223km long state-owned rail network; the construction of 7 new international airports; the upgrade of 54 existing ones; and the acquisition of a new fleet of aircraft. The state carrier Iran Air has already placed orders with Airbus for 114 new aircraft and it is estimated that another 600 new airplanes will be needed over the next decade.
Iran also hopes to secure large investments into its unexplored and under-developed natural gas sector.
“Is there an opportunity here for UK business? Of course there is,” said Amanda Clack, head of Infrastructure and consultancy EY told The Telegraph this week. “Deliverability is key and contracts could be won by British companies on the basis of professionalism. These skills are underpinned by high standards and regulation which means the companies are more likely to offer a robust approach to the work.”
However, according to the The British Iranian Chamber of Commerce (BICC), the main obstacle towards a significant increase in British Iranian trade lies in the absence of banking facilities caused by the fear among European banks of American primary sanctions against Iran which were retained even after the Iran nuclear deal in late 2015.
“Until the American election there were indications that some UK banks were willing to handle direct transactions with Iran under certain conditions. Since then attitudes of the banks seem to have become more cautious and restrictive,” a spokesman said.

 

(more…)

telegraph Read More»

First train leaves UK on New Silk Road

London to Yiwu trainThe first ‘Silk Road’ rail freight service from Britain to China pulled out of the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Essex yesterday laden with pharmaceuticals, whisky, soft drinks, vitamins and baby products at the start of its maiden 18-day 7,500-mile journey to Yiwu in the central province of Zhejiang. After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany from (more…)

Times of Central Asia Read More»

Johnson to push G7 to impose new sanctions on Russia over Syria

Chemical gas attack SyriaUK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is expected to use today’s G7 meeting in Lucca to call on fellow member states to ramp up sanctions against Russia following the latest developments in Syria, according to The Times, unless Moscow (more…)

tass Read More»

ChemChina gets OK for Syngenta deal

SyngentaChemChina has won EU antitrust approval for its $43bn takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta, paving the way for China’s largest overseas acquisition to date. The EU’s approval is conditional on ChemChina’s agreeing to (more…)

Bloomberg Read More»

Russia and Uzbekistan sign $3.5bn in deals as Mirziyoyev heads to Moscow

Uzbek President Shavkat MirziyoyevWith Uzbekistan’s new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev due to arrive in Moscow tomorrow, the Uzbek foreign ministry has announced that the two countries have signed off on $3.5bn of bilateral deals covering project finance, the joint manufacturing of agricultural machinery and a number of agreements relating to the supply of Uzbek fruit and vegetables to Russia with oil set to flow in the opposite direction. The announcement (more…)

sputniknews Read More»

EEU doomed, predicts Bzhezinsky

Zbignev BzhezinskyThe Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will be dead and buried within in ten years or as soon as Russia accepts that it is a a European state, Zbignev Bzhezinsky predicted this week. In an interview with the daily Gazeta, (more…)

Gazeta Read More»

EU backs down on Nord Stream 2

Nord StreamThe European Union is giving up on efforts to stop construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and is instead seeking a mandate from its member countries to negotiate with Russia over their concerns that Moscow’s plans to build a second pipeline to pump more gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea to Germany, will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas.
The Russian state-run enterprise Gazprom already supplies the EU with around one third of its gas requirement, but its plan to build a second pipeline has bitterly divided the EU, with Eastern European and Baltic Sea states worried that a new pipeline will increase their dependence on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a transit country. Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe, in contrast back the plan.
Nord Stream2 pipesIn a March 28 letter addressed to Denmark and Sweden, the Commission said it was inviting all EU states to voice their concerns and would seek a mandate from EU energy ministers to negotiate an agreement with Moscow on behalf of the bloc.”It is our view that a specific legal regime would need to be established for the offshore section, and that such specific legal regime should include some fundamental principles stemming from EU energy law,” the Commission said. “It cannot be built or operated … in a legal void.”
Discussions would focus on how EU rules aimed at ensuring competitiveness and transparency in the gas market could be applied to the offshore pipeline, the Commission said.

reuters Read More»

China confirms $22bn gold discovery

Shandong Gold mineThe Shandong Gold Group this week confirmed that it has discovered what is thought to be China’s largest gold deposit in the eastern district of Xilin. According to the Group, the 2,000m deposit contains 382.58 tons of high-quality gold with a potential value of more than $22bn and represents around 20% of China’s entire gold reserves. (more…)

chinadaily Read More»

Australia rebuffs China over Silk Road

Li Keqiang and Turnbull Australia 230317China is expected to suffer a rare setback in its drive to develop its $4trn One Belt One Road global trading, transport and logistics network this week during Premier Li Keqian’s visit to Canberra, with an unnamed Australian officials predicting that Australia will rejected Beijing’s request for its $3.8bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility infrastructure fund to be formally aligned with the New Silk Road strategy . The rebuff comes amid concerns that such a move could damage relations with the US at a time when Australia is pressing Washington to bolster its presence in the region and taking a tougher line on inward investment from China.
S Kidman & Co cattle farmLast year, the Canberra government blocked two potential Chinese acquisitions – bids in excess of $7.6bn for the Ausgrid electricity company due to be submitted by the State Grid Corporation and the Hong-Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure company; and attempts by a Chinese consortium to purchase the S Kidman & Co cattle farm that stretches across more than 1% of Australia’s land mass.
The debate over whether Australia should align its state infrastructure fund with One Belt One Road follows on from Canberra’s hesitation over joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2014, Australia initially decided not to join following lobbying by the US and Japan, but eventually relented after the UK and several other western nations broke ranks and signed up.

FT Read More»