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World Bank unveils its one billion dollar lending plan on China despite US opposition

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The World Bank has approved a plan on annually providing China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans through June 2025 despite US Treasury Department objections, Sputnik reported.

The plan was published after the World Bank's board "expressed broad support" for the international lender's engagement in China's structural and environmental reforms.

The blueprint stipulates that lending will “gradually decline” from the previous five-year average of $1.8 billion.

The bank said that “lending levels may fluctuate up and down from year to year due to normal pipeline management based on project readiness”.

It pointed out that China is interested in continued financing from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development division “as platforms for reform, institution building and knowledge transfer.”

The goal of the five-year plan’s loans is to promote market and fiscal reforms, boost greener growth and increase citizens’ access to health and social services, according to the statement.

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Passenger plane crashes in Afghanistan

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A passenger plane has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, according to officials, BBC News reported.

The aircraft came down in the Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, to the south-west of Kabul, a provincial spokesman told local media.

The plane crashed and caught fire due to technical reasons, the spokesman said.

The plane was initially reported to have belonged to Ariana Airlines but the company has now denied this.

"Ariana planes that have left, have reached their destination and have not crashed," a representative for the airline said. "The plane that crashed, therefore, doesn't belong to Ariana Airlines."

No details about casualties have been given.

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TAP pipeline project 91 percent completed

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The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, was 91 percent completed as of late December 2019, the TAP AG consortium building the natural gas pipeline said.

“At the end of December 2019, the TAP project, including engineering procurement and construction scope, was 91 percent completed,” according to the company.

“TAP is currently moving further into the project construction phase. Every day hundreds of meters of TAP’s Right of Way (ROW) are cleared, strung, welded, lowered into the trenches and backfilled, in line with the project construction steps and schedule,” said a message from the consortium.

More than 99 percent of trenching was completed along the Trans Adriatic Pipeline’s (TAP) route, TAP AG consortium earlier reported.

TAP’s first offshore pipelines (7km) in Albania were successfully installed and backfilled in May. This is part of the 105 km section across the Adriatic Sea that will link the gas pipeline to Italy’s transmission network.

The pipes will be laid on the Adriatic seabed: 37 km in Albanian territorial waters, 25 km in Italian territorial waters; and 43 km in international waters.

The 878km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy, where it will connect to Italy’s gas transportation grid operated by SNAM Rete Gas.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will transport Caspian natural gas from the Shah Deniz 2 field to Europe.

TAP is the European section of the Southern Gas Corridor, enhancing Europe’s energy security and contributing to decarbonisation and the diversification of gas supplies.

TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).

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Oil prices fall on world markets

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Oil prices have decreased on the world markets.

On London ICE (InterContinental Exchange Futures) cost of the Brent crude oil fell $1.30 to trade at $59.39, while the price of Light crude oil at the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) decreased $1.23 to stand at $52.96.

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