Monochrome by Centil Law: Where focus goes, energy flows

As the Stans recover from a troublesome summer, they shift focus on promising projects and an ambitious year end.

The Astana International Exchange launched a Regional Equity Market Segment to help companies with a free-float market capitalisation of under $200m to secure better access to public equity financing. In a bid to help medium-size businesses to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the regulations for REMS companies were also simplified and the minimum free float level reduced to 15% of share capital.

Uzbekistan’s power sector gained a new smart metering infrastructure centre, constructed by South Korea’s ICT manufacturer, KT. The National Integrated Data Centre will process data collected using KT’s Central AMI System from 8 million meters, expected to be installed across the country by 2021, and distribute utilities to consumers based on their previous payment information.

Kazakhstan prepares to launch a new cryptocurrency mining complex operated by Enegix in Ekibastuz in September 2020. The mining facility is Enegix’s largest to date, with a total capacity of 180 MW and space for up to 50,000 mining rigs, which would be the equivalent to 4% of Bitcoin's current hashrate at 5-6 EH/s. Construction started in August 2019 and cost around $23m to date.

Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Haneef Atmar set to sign a 10 year contract with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the national utilities companies for the supply of electricity from Uzbekistan’s power grid. The discounted price of five cents per kilowatt was initially agreed upon last year with the Acting Finance Minister Humayun Qayumi. 

UzbekHydroEnergy teases plans for obtaining a credit rating by Fitch Ratings to issue bonds on the London Stock Exchange. As part of these plans, the company will start the work to comply with International Accounting Standards, which would also allow to secure foreign investments and credit loans without a state guarantee, as encouraged by President Mirziyoyev.

Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Energy received a €55.8m loan from France’s Development Agency to help the state meet its target to generate 3.8 GW of hydro energy by 2030. Of them, €46.5m will co-fund the constructions of a hydropower plant in Tashkent, the HPP 1A and HPP 2A in the Southern Fergana Canal. The remaining €9.3m will help implement the ‘Safety of HPPs’ policy at the Charvak station.

Kyrgyzstan received $230,000 in grants from the US Agency for International Development to finance civil society organisations that help victims of gender-based and domestic violence. These funds will be disbursed including into expanding shelters, providing psychological and legal assistance. Earlier, USAID allocated $2.5m to Kyrgyzstan in battling COVID-19 and mitigating its economic impacts.

The Asian Development Bank plans to mobilise $323m in grants for Tajikistan in 2021-2023 to support the country partnership strategy approved for 2021-2025 and contribute to Tajikistan’s own development strategy for tourism, health and road infrastructure sectors. The assistance from ADB for 2020 is expected to amount to $320m, including a $52.5m COVID-19 emergency response package. 

Eager to put the pandemic crisis behind, Kazakhstan signed a purchase contract of 2 then 5 millions doses of Russia’s controversial vaccine against COVID-19, Sputnik V, from Russia’s Direct Investment Fund upon the completion of clinical trials. In face of international scepticism, Russia argues that the vaccine is safe and that the largest trial starting in September will test over 40,000 people.

Turkmenistan’s Turkmenabat Chemical Plant plans to set up the production of an industrial liquid mix, primarily to facilitate the crushing of mountainous rocks, particularly multi-layer mineral ore. The Turkmen producer is already quick to promise to produce almost 1,000 tonnes of the liquid a year starting from 2021, expecting to export the major part of the produce to China and Russia.

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