On 12 August 2018, after two decades of negotiations, the five coastal states of the Caspian finally agreed on the status of the region when they signed the document “Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea” in the port of Aktau, Kazakhstan. While the document mentions the term “Caspian Sea,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that it was a particular body of water to which the 1982 United Nations Convention on Maritime Laws (UNCLOS) did not apply. While Russian President Vladimir Putin called the signing of the agreement a “historic success,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said further talks on the Caspian`s borders were needed. The above statement provides an overview of the outcome of the agreement and its relative benefits to the Member States concerned. The most important result of the Convention is, in short, “caspian for the Caspians.” All aspects related to the exploitation of the water mass, whether it is a means of transit or in terms of the use of its energy reserves, fall exclusively within the jurisdiction of the five coastal states. The sharing of surface resources, seabeds and subsl soils outside the territorial waters of each Member State is an essential agreement with greater consequences for the region and for those wishing to invest in this resource-rich region. Every coastal state is right when it comes to using energy reserves in common areas. The Caspian Sea is an extremely important inland water mass, not only in terms of its strategic position as a link between energy-rich Central Asia and Eastern Europe, but also in terms of the energy resources it believes it contains. According to various estimates, it holds 50 billion barrels of oil and nearly 9 trillion cubic meters of gas in proven or probable reserves. With current market prices, energy resources are worth thousands of billions of dollars. It is also home to disruptive fish – a source of delicacy caviar. While several bilateral agreements between the Soviet Union and Iran regulated the use of the water mass, the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 added three new countries to the coasts of caspian, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, which claimed their share of the pie. This meant that the agreement on the use of the Caspian Sea had to be renegotiated in order to allay their fears and rights.
ASTM International has also entered into a cooperation agreement with the German certification organisation T-V S-D to promote the industrial introduction of additive manufacturing technologies, as well as with the UK MTC for the development of DED standards. Therefore, any agreement between the five coastal states of the Caspian Sea must resolve certain things before they can begin to exploit the region`s energy resources. The agreement also leaves it to the Member States concerned to resolve all their issues bilaterally. From this point of view, the issues between Iran and Azerbaijan via the Araz-Alov-Sharg field and Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan through the Serdar/Kapaz field remain unresolved, while maintaining the status quo.
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