|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Petro Matad, the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer, announced an operational update for its planned 2018 exploration drilling programme:
· Interpretation of high quality 3D Seismic data in the Tugrug basin ongoing
· High quality data has identified bright amplitude anomalies which are very encouraging for hydrocarbon prospectivity
· Falcon prospect shown to be smaller than initially anticipated and removed from the drilling programme whilst other more promising prospects identified in the Tugrug basin are analysed and high-graded
· 90 MMbo Snow Leopard prospect (Block V) to be spudded first, with well site civil works commencing in May 2018 and required permitting anticipated to be finalised by the end April 2018. Rig fully contracted and certified
· The 290 MMbo Wild Horse Prospect (Block IV) will be drilled following Snow Leopard, with permitting progressing as planned
· The tender process for a rig for Block XX drilling is near completion with drilling anticipated to commence in H2 2018
North Korea increases diplomatic efforts with China, Russia, and Mongolia ahead of spring summits www.hani.co.kr
Pyongyang appears to be increasing its diplomatic efforts with friendly nations ahead of its summit with Seoul and Washington. Analysts see North Korea as attempting to firm up its own position and expand the playing field for dialogue by establishing even closer ties with friendly nations such as China, Russia, and Mongolia.
The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, printed a front-page article and photograph on Apr. 15 on leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting the day before with Chinese Communist Party International Liaison Department director Song Tao, who was visiting North Korea with a group of Chinese artists. According to the piece, Kim “expressed satisfaction with the recent development of relations between the two parties and countries [North Korea and China], announcing plans to continue strengthening party relations with exchanges of high-level delegations between the two sides and actively promoting cooperation and associations among various areas and fields to actively carry on and develop the traditional friendly relations between North Korea and China to a new stage of development to meet new historical demands.”
The message was read as an expression of Pyongyang’s commitment to maintaining and developing relations with Beijing after their first steps toward recovery with a surprise China visit by Kim and North Korea-China summit last month.
In terms of the subject of Kim and Song’s meeting, the newspaper reported that “in-depth opinions were sincerely exchanged on the international situation and serious issues of common interest to the Workers’ Party and Chinese Communist Party.” The “serious issues of common interest” and “in-depth opinions on the international situation” reported by the newspaper are seen as very likely to include matters related to an inter-Korean summit scheduled for Apr. 27 and North Korea-US summit expected in May or early June.
“You get the sense that [North Korea] is trying to broaden the scope [of talks] because it feels overwhelmed negotiating one-on-one with the US at the upcoming summit,” said Institute for National Security Strategy senior research fellow Cho Sung-ryul.
“Because issues such as implementation and guarantees [on the outcome of agreements] become uncertain when it’s reaching agreements one-on-one with the US, it appears to be responding to the talks with Washington by bringing China into it and visiting Russia and countries and Europe to broaden the overall playing field,” Cho suggested.
Indeed, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho visited Russia on Apr. 9 and met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Apr. 10 in Moscow. On Apr. 4, Foreign Ministry director general for European affairs Kim Son-gyong met with senior European Union (EU) officials in Brussels to exchange opinions on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues. North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Apr. 14 that Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium president Kim Yong-nam had met and talked to a Mongolian People’s Party delegation visiting North Korea.
The second page of the Apr. 15 issue of the Rodong Shinmun
North Korean press reports also suggested efforts at “First Lady diplomacy,” with Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju attending various external events. KCNA reported on Apr. 15 that Ri viewed a performance of the ballet “Giselle” the day before by Chinese dancers at Pyongyang’s Mansudae Art Theatre with officials from the Workers’ Party and North Korean government. It is seen as unusual for North Korean media to report separately on Ri’s attendance at a major event with party and government officials without Kim accompanying her.
“Ri Sol-ju is playing the role of First Lady in a normal state,” Cho Sung-ryul said, noting that Ri had “also had a separate conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan during the previous North Korea-China summit.”
“It looks like she is involved in ‘First Lady diplomacy,’ meeting with the wives of other countries’ leaders and attending separate events,” he said.
By Noh Ji-won, staff reporter
Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh and government members worked at Tavantolgoi coal mine in Umnugobi aimag and met authorities of ‘Erdenes Tavantolgoi’ JSC, ‘Energy Resource’ LLC and local-owned ‘Tavantolgoi’ Company.
During his working trip, the PM stated the Government would make a political decision on improving utilization of Tavantolgoi deposit very soon and make it considered at the parliament and discuss matters regarding TT railway, auto road and power plant at the Cabinet Meeting.
At the meeting, G.Battsengel, CEO of Energy Resource LLC, proposed to increase border checkpoints, through which coal could be transported. According to him, Energy Resource LLC is extracting in Ukhaa Khudag and Baruun Naran sections of Tavantolgoi deposit. Total production reserve is 509 million tons. The company built the first coal concentrating plant in Umnugobi aimag in 2011 and it is currently capable of concentrating 15 million tons of coal per year. So far, it has concentrated approximately 40 million tons of coal and presently exports its concentrated coal only. In addition, the company constructed and now operates 18MW Power Station.
“It needs to consider accurately if it is riight to have a sole export gateway in the country. Present slow circulation of coal transportation at border checkpoint triggers increased cost of the supply, selling a ton of coal at around USD60. Last year, a sales income rose by 4-fold, reaching USD476 million. The company exported 4.4 million tons of concentrated coal, but utilizes just half of its full industrial capacity. If trucks jam at Gashuunsukhait border checkpoint is resolved and coal transportation resumes running normal, the company is able to double its operation. There are ready buyers, even beyond the border,” said G.Battsengel.
Afterwards, a report on state-owned ‘Erdenes Tavantolgoi (ETT)’ JSC was introduced by its acting director B.Gankhuyag. He highlighted that the company earned MNT80.1 trillion thanks to its active and efficient operations, and now has no external and internal debts. By doing so, the ETT has come into a start of the 1st stage to develop the deposit and implement a strategically important project. Preliminarily, it is possible to raise USD1 billion from investors in the international markets and/or within the project. Thanks to its accomplishments in 2017, a value of the deposit can be reached USD8 billion.
To start the 1st stage of its development, the ETT needs to intensify modernization of facilities and implementation of other projects and introduce advanced international technologies. Due to indispensable needs to concentrate coal, the ETT plans to commence a project of concentration plant and cooperation with Energy Resource LLC and plants abroad to produce concentrate.
A feasibility study was tentatively approved to establish a coal concentration plant with USD330 million and it aims at putting a plant with capacity of concentrating 1-5 million tons of coal into operation in 2018-2020.
Moreover, B.Gankhuyag said, “With its four licenses, the ETT JSC is valued at USD5 billion. Thus, it is entirely possible to raise USD1 billion by making IPO. Two weeks ago, the ETT registered 1072 shares of 2,511,000 shareholders on the balance of the ETT. In this regard, the company schedules to host a meeting of the shareholders on April 27 to modify its rules.”
Following the reports, the Prime Minister and Ministers of Road and Transport Development and Mining and Heavy Industry provided some resolutions and assignments. For instance, Minister of Road and Transport Development J.Bat-Erdene made a decision to stop disorderly issuance of ‘C’ permission of coal transportation to cross the border and issue the permission in case the extractor made a direct contract with a buyer.
Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry D.Sumiyabazar instructed the ETT to execute logistical works itself, recruit skilled personnel and bring Gashuunsukhait auto road project into a direct management of the ETT.
In the end, the PM assigned the authorities of coal companies to pay attention on health, safety and social issues of drivers who transport coal.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Energy Regulatory Commission signed a memorandum of cooperation with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) on green building evaluation system implementation in Mongolia on April 13.
Cooperation between the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and the IFC started in 2017 and the memorandum launches the second phase of its operation.
Deputy Minister of Construction and Urban Development Sh.Lkhamsuren said “We would like to thank you for accepting our proposals and supporting the development of a green building evaluation system in Mongolia. As you know we have established the Council for Green Building to create and develop national evaluation system in Mongolia. The council is responsible for integrated management of all green building activities. In order to strengthen human resources I suggest to train trainers from the Council for Green Building and jointly develop a program. The Council will become an independent implementation institution of Mongolia's green building evaluation system, which is the most important outcome of this memorandum.”
As a result of this cooperation, it will be possible to evaluate green building in Mongolia using the IFC’s ‘EDGE’ software for green building evaluation system based on the principle of improving the efficiency of new housing and public buildings and resource-savings.
The ‘Green building’ certificate for buildings will make a significant improvement in the development of resource efficient construction.
Aspire Mining’s ambitious plan for a Mongolian railway line to unlock value in the globally significant Ovoot coking coal deposit in that country has taken another step forward, with the company entering a new memorandum of understanding with its giant Chinese engineering partner.
In an update to the ASX, Aspire said it had signed a new MOU with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co (CGGC) as part of an official program of 35 new infrastructure agreements between Mongolia and China.
The program was the centrepiece of the first official visit to China by Mongolia’s recently elected Prime Minister.
Under the new MOU, Aspire and CGGC agree they will continue to work together to finalise a feasibility study on a 550km-long railway running east from Ovoot to the railway hub town of Erdenet.
CGGC, who is 40% owned by the Chinese state, last month delivered a draft feasibility study that found it would be financially viable to construct the railway line. A target date of next month has been set to finalise the study.
Rather fortuitously, Aspire’s railway plan has been caught up in bigger ambitions by China and Mongolia to build a Northern Rail Corridor as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative to develop trade throughout Eurasia.
This has helped Aspire pick up heavyweight partners such as CGGC on a railway line east from Ovoot and attract interest from Russia in building a line westwards to the Russian border.
Russian rail design group Mosgiprotrans last month signed a deal with Aspire to study the feasibility of running a rail line west from Ovoot to the town of Arts Suuri on the Mongolian-Russian border and then on to the Russian city of Kyzyl.
While the Russian government has yet to declare support for the project, Aspire noted in its latest update that the Russian Ministry for Rail had asked to review the Ovoot to Erdenet proposal.
The company added that the new MOU between Aspire and CGGC recognised that both parties were interested in attracting investment by the Russian and Mongolian governments.
The new MOU also confirmed CGGC’s interest in funding pre-development activities for the project, subject to a guarantee the Trans-Mongolian railway, which runs through Erdenet, will have capacity to take Aspire’s coking coal north to markets in Russia and south to the steel mills of China.
Aspire reiterated that Mongolia’s central rail authority Ulaanbataar JSC had confirmed its forward planning estimates included capacity demand from Northern Railways for production from Ovoot.
As part of the new MOU, Northern Railways has committed to enter into a lump sum turnkey EPC contract with CGGC by the end of November 2018. Aspire reported the EPC contract would be subject to funding for the project, which, if available, could allow construction to begin in the Mongolian spring of 2019.
With China and Mongolia already urging them on and Russia peering over the wall, Aspire has no shortage of potential heavyweight backers for a project that could transform the company into a world-class player in coking coal....
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Stakeholders of cashmere production propose to create inintegrated system of raw material supply and develop cashmere production at the strategic level. Multi-lateral stakeholders meeting entitled ‘Sustainable Supply Capacity of Cashmere and Cashmere Products: Proper Coordination of Stakeholders’ Collaboration' was co-organized on April 13, by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, Sustainable Fiber Alliance (SFA) and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Mongolia.
The stakeholders' collaboration will ensure stable supply of cashmere products to the world market: herders should sort out raw cashmere and supply quality cashmere that meet requirements while manufacturers should pay attention on processing cashmere completely, they consider.
The Mongolian Agricultural Commodity Exchange has significant role in setting market price, restricting speculators’ trade and further development of sustainable cashmere production, highlighted the attendees.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation is working in Mongolia.
Head of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science Yo.Baatarbileg received Special Rapporteur Leo Heller on April 13 to discuss his mission, which aims to collect information on the state of drinking water adequacy and quality in Mongolia, examine if Mongolians’ right to safe drinking water and sanitation are being ensured and the existing challenges in this area.
The Special Rapporteur had been working in ger areas of the capital city before his trip to Umnugobi aimag on April 14, as he reported to MP Yo.Baatarbileg. The visit wraps up on April 20 with a press conference.
Appreciating the importance of the mission, MP Yo.Baatarbileg provided necessary information and pointed out the inequality in access to drinking water and sanitation on the national level. He also reported on the inadequacy of safe drinking water in the capital city and the provincial centers despite of efforts to increase access to water.
The Special Rapporteur will report to the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council on his mission to Mongolia.
BERLIN (Reuters) - The German automotive industry must invest heavily in electric car technology and develop battery production facilities in Europe to keep up with global competitors, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a newspaper interview published on Monday.
Altmaier told Germany’s mass-circulation Bild newspaper that the carmakers needed to invest high “two-digit billion amounts” in electric car technology, saying he did not understand why the firms had hesitated for so long.
Investments were also needed in battery production, given expected demand for many millions of electric batteries that could help firms earn good money, he said.
“Otherwise we’ll have to accept that a large part of the added value will be produced in Asia or the United States, instead of here with us,” he said.
The German car industry, which accounts for some 800,000 jobs in Europe’s biggest economy, is struggling with a global backlash against diesel cars after Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) admitted in 2015 that it had cheated U.S. exhaust tests.
To help reduce pollution levels and avoid a total ban on diesel vehicles, VW, Daimler and others have stepped up development of electric cars.
The new German coalition government plans to ease the tax burden on drivers of electric vehicles, provide at least an additional 100,000 charge points across the country and subsidize car-sharing to push a shift to greener transportation.
There are also plans to provide funding for research into autonomous driving technology and support the establishment of battery cell production in Germany.
Altmaier said German carmakers needed to develop a model that had at least the range of a Tesla but costs less, and should work on developing an information technology platform for self-driving cars that was the best in the world.
“The first safe self-driving cars must operate with German technology,” he said.
German companies should also work with other European firms to develop a European battery cell production.
The conservative minister said it was imperative to secure the hundreds of thousands of jobs now supporting the car and supplier industries.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Sandra Maler
According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, a total area of 513.2 thousand hectares are to be cultivated nationally in 2018.
Mongolia will cultivate over 390 thousand hectares of wheat, 15.5 thousand hectares of potatoes, 8.4 thousand hectares of various vegetables, 32.0 thousand hectares for fodder crops, 41.9 thousand hectares for oil-seed plants and 6.5 thousand hectares for fruit.
In the scope of the plan, 1480 entities from 14 different aimags (provinces) will plant cereal, oil-seed and fodder crops, 470 entities, cooperatives and 35 thousand households will plant potato, vegetables and fruit.
Crude oil exports implemented via Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline may substantially benefit from yuan-denominated oil futures launched by China last month, according to industry experts.
If the new product manages to succeed, price pegging of the Russian ESPO export blend to the China contract will favorably influence the Russian oil blend price. The new futures contract may reportedly boost Russian producers’ annual revenues by extra $440 million.
Last year, China topped the US as the biggest oil importer with nearly a million barrels of crude being purchased every day. Chinese oil demand could increase by 2.1 million barrels per day by 2023, according to Wood Mackenzie consulting firm, as quoted by TASS. The analysts stress that Chinese authorities are clearly seeking to exert more influence on oil pricing in this regard.
“Certainly, it is more beneficial for China to make settlements in the national currency. The national futures launch is a step in this direction. This instrument will make possible to form contracts on its basis and perform hedging,” Darya Kozlova from Vygon Consulting told the agency.
“At current import volumes, the contract grades could account for trade of about 200 billion yuan ($31.9 billion). This will help the Chinese government in its efforts to internationalize renminbi,” said Wood Mackenzie's research director Sushant Gupta.
The new product encourages foreign investment in Chinese assets. China’s Finance Ministry even pledged to exempt nonresidents investing into the contract from taxes for up to three years.
“However, if the government continues market interventions, while control measures over capital flow will be tightened, this will only discourage investors,” notes Ekaterina Grushevenko, an expert from the Skolkovo Business School.
Analysts say that Beijing is on its way to creating its own oil benchmark as seven different blends accounting for just 20 percent of total imported volumes are currently authorized for trading.
“Creation of liquid futures is a lengthy and complex yet feasible process, as Dubai’s experience shows. A fairly liquid exchange market is an advantage for China, which is important for benchmark forming” said Kozlova.