Robert Cutler takes a look at the geopolitical context of Azerbaijan's new investments in Tajikistan and Kyrgyztsan
was signed between the companies Azeraluminum and
Tajik Aluminum Co (TALCO) during a state visit to
Baku by Tajikistan's President Emomalii Rahmon
last week for Azeraluminum to construct an oil
refinery in his country...
"Earlier this year, SOCAR agreed to
construct a US$250 million oil refinery in
Kyrgyzstan with a capacity of 2 million tonnes per
year, equivalent to about 40,000 barrels per day.
This would reduce and possibly even eliminate
Kyrgyzstan's dependence on Russia, on which it
relies for imports of about 1.4 million tonnes per
year, representing three-quarters of its oil and
oil products consumption...
thus reached already westwards, now Azerbaijan and
SOCAR are extending their activities and influence
eastwards beyond the Caspian Sea basin proper, to
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in southern and
southeastern Central Asia. The projects themselves
are quantitatively minor, as such things go, but
the countries involved are also relatively small;
and since they are near the collision points not
only of geological tectonic plates (producing the
Himalaya mountains) but also geopolitical tectonic
plates, the moves by Azerbaijan have a much larger
potential geo-economic significance.
is especially so because, combined with
initiatives from China, the given countries may be
in the process of extricating themselves from a
Russian sphere of influence inherited from the
Soviet, indeed pre-Soviet, era. Over the past
decade and half, China has become an extremely
important player in the economy of Kyrgyzstan,
through which it also penetrates the market for
(re-exported) consumer goods in Uzbekistan."
Labels: Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan