Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan, Turkey map out joint projectsChairman of Supreme Majlis (assembly) of Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Vasif Talibov, has visited Turkey’s towns of Gars and Igdir for talks focusing on joint projects, Turkish media reported. Speaking to reporters after the meeting with the Igdir Governor Saim Saffet Karahisarly, Talibov said he had also held fruitful meetings with senior officials in Ankara. “We discussed construction of the Nakhchivan-Igdir-Gars railway and an Igdir airport and laying the Nakhchivan-Igdir gas pipeline. Moreover, the issue of creating a free industrial area that could be used jointly by Turkey, Iran and Nakhchivan was one of the main topics of discussion. If this project, which will bring benefits to the people in the three countries, materializes, all sides involved will strengthen economically.” Talibov said that during the meetings in Turkey he had become convinced once again that Ankara’s stance supporting Azerbaijan remains unchanged. “The Turkish government has stated that it will not open the border until the Armenians have pulled out of the Azerbaijani lands they occupy and always says this to the Armenians. “Armenians today resemble a child who enters a children’s store. Just like a kid wants to buy every toy he sees, Armenians say ‘I want this and that’ every chance they get.” Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 due to the Armenian occupation of a part of Azerbaijan’s territory and claims on the World War I-era “genocide.” Turkish officials have pledged that the border will not open until progress has been achieved in settling the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.* EBRD investing in Azeri wireless internet Baku, AssA-Irada, April 30, 2010 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing $4 million in the stock of the Datacell company, which is providing wireless internet services in Baku and plans to expand this coverage into the Azerbaijani regions. The acquisition of the JSC’s shares aims to promote widening the scope of Web use in Azerbaijan, according to the EBRD Baku office. Established in 2005, Datacell is operating under the µlcell trademark. The company’s services are based on the cutting-edge HC-SDMA iBurst wireless communication technology, which provides for high-speed and reliable wireless cable and mobile internet services for a reasonable price. In addition to broadbad internet, Datacell renders a number of high-quality internet services for banks, retail outlets, transport and other sectors. The EBRD’s investment in the newly-issued Datacell stock will allow the company to expand its services both to individual and corporate clients in the capital and other parts of the country. By 2011, Datacell intends to provide high-speed internet connection in Baku and the entire Absheron Peninsula, which encompasses the city’s surrounding regions, as well as in 12 other major cities of Azerbaijan.* OIL & GAS Gazprom, Naftogaz deal may be equity swap-Putin spox Baku, AssA-Irada, April 30, 2010 A proposed deal between Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine's state energy firm Naftogaz may be an equity swap, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters on Friday. "It will not be a merger, given the size of Gazprom and the size of Naftogaz. Probably it will be an equity swap. A certain number of Naftogaz shares can be swapped for a certain number of Gazprom shares," Peskov said. He added that Putin's proposal, put forward at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Azarov, was not "impromptu", as previously interpreted by the Ukrainian prime minister's spokesman. "It (the proposal) was not an impromptu one. It was a thought-out, calculated proposal. Such proposals are not made in an impromptu way," Peskov said. Oil prices settle above $86 on improving economy Baku, AssA-Irada, April 30, 2010 Oil prices climbed above $86 Friday as the government reported the economy expanded in the first quarter and on growing concern that an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will affect supply, AP reported. Oil rose 98 cents to settle at $86.15 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude has moved between $81 and $87 this month as traders weighed the improving global economy against stubbornly high U.S. oil inventories. On Friday the Commerce Department said the nation's economy grew by 3.2 percent from January to March. Consumer spending showed the best improvement in three years. That's good news for the oil and gas industry, which has seen demand for energy tank with the economy. As the economy picks up steam, factories and businesses should use more power and consumers more gasoline. The disadvantage for the energy sector Friday continued to be the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. About 5,000 barrels of oil per day are leaking from the seabed where the drill ship Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank. A giant slick is beginning to wash ashore along the Gulf Coast. On Friday President Barack Obama said he'd ordered the interior secretary to see whether new safety procedures are needed before new offshore drilling leases can go forward. JP Morgan analysts wrote in a note to investors that the spill raises worries about supply. "Given the rich concentration of both offshore upstream assets and refining and petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast, markets are increasingly concerned about the potential for restriction of vessel movements to tighten crude and product markets." Traffic through the Southwest Pass, the main deep water shipping lane in the area, has not been restricted yet. It appeared that the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP, a key facility for offloading tankers delivering U.S. oil imports, would not be affected, according to analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. "Ultimately, if there are any disruptions to crude oil imports, the Strategic Petroleum Reserves will be released," Jakob said. The SPR totaled 726 million barrels in December, according to the Department of Energy. That is around 75 days of oil imports. Retail gasoline prices rose 0.4 cent per gallon overnight to a national average of $2.881, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's 3 cents higher than a week ago and 83 cents higher than a year ago. In other Nymex trading in May contracts, heating oil rose 3.73 cents to settle at $2.2888 a gallon, and gasoline gained 4.07 cents to settle at $2.3963 a gallon. Natural gas lost 6 cents to settle at $3.920 per 1,000 cubic feet.