Important project both for Europe and Azerbaijan

Important project both for Europe and Azerbaijan

03 March 2016, 15:52 759
“Southern Gas Corridor” project Advisory Board, held on February 29, with the leadership of Baku, have succeeded to drew attention to it and was remarkable. President Ilham Aliyev stated during the event that, Azerbaijan has a good potential and history to establish good ties with the EU. Azerbaijan conducts half of its trade abroad with EU countries. He has also noted that Azerbaijan has been a reliable partner for many years: “These events will continue. I’m sure we will be able to overcome any difficulties from now on. I want to express my thanks to every country , particularly the USA, which supported this project. 

President also noted that “Southern Gas Corridor” is a big infrastructure project: “This is a strong partnership project. We will continue to improve partnership with countries who participate in this project. “Southern Gas Corridor” will change the energy map of Europe”. 

This project seems to be of special importance for both Europe and Azerbaijan. Then, what is the importance of “Southern Gas Corridor”? What is the role of this project in ensuring the energy security in Europe? How will this influence the increasing reputation of Azerbaijan in the region and the world? 

According to experts who shared their views with us, our country was another success for our country and it proves that we pursue an independent policy.

The member of economic policy, industry and entrepreneurship committee of Parliament, MP Vahid Ahmadov said it was a big project and that president had made a lot of effort to make it materialize: “There were some ideas about exporting Azerbaijani gas. Russia really wanted us to transfer our natural gas to Europe via their territory. Another option was to transfer our gas to Europe through Georgia and Turkey. But at last, Azerbaijani president made a very right and important decision. By doing this, he proved once again the importance of Azerbaijan in politics. So, it was announced that Azerbaijan sell gas to Europe through Georgia and Turkey. This is, of course, of very high economic importance. But it is also very important for political life of Azerbaijan. As you know, big companies will participate in constructing the pipeline. Where these companies operate, there is stability there. This is a very important issue”. MP called this project the “Contract of 21st century”.  According to him, independence of Azerbaijan when pursuing such policies is very important: “ After this, TAP project will be implemented through the Adriatic sea. It will enable Azerbaijan to export more gas and to transfer our gas to Eastern Europe. To be honest, I expect us to receive threats and pressures in regard to this. But what’s important is that there are a lot of interest in the project. Iran is also interested in the project lately. In my opinion, Iranian gas may also be exported through this pipeline. Lifting of sanctions from Iran, our president’s recent trip to Tehran and the contracts signed during the visit looks very promising. As you know, natural gas is very important for Europe as those countries are dependent on Russia for gas. Therefore they are looking for alternative pipeline. This project is supported by the USA, the UK and other major countries”.  

Political analyst, Natig Miri also consider the meeting of the Advisory Council II to be a very important event. He thinks this will draw the attention of the West to Azerbaijan: “This is a very important and positive step for Azerbaijan. Secondly, implementation of this project serves to ensure the energy security in Europe. This way, Europe will reduce its energy dependence on Russia. This is also a very promising project. Other countries can also join this project in the future. This would lead to more gas being exported and further reduce the energy dependence on Russia. As you know, the previous sanctions against Iran had enabled Russia to become dominant in European markets. It had come to a point that, Russia used the energy factor, particularly the natural gas in winter as a political pressure mechanism. To be rid of this pressure, Europe needs alternative “Southern Gas Corridor”. If Iran co-operates with Azerbaijan in the future and transfer its natural gas to Europe via Azerbaijan as well as Turkmenistan exporting compressed gas to Europe through out territories, this dependence will be reduced. These factors benefit the energy security in Europe. It should also be noted that, the project is also about the security of Azerbaijan. 

According to the expert, the participating countries will be interested in maintaining security in Azerbaijan due to the project: “This is why I also view the implementation of the project as a way of ensuring security in Azerbaijan”. In addition, the project serves to increase the influence of Azerbaijan in international community. It allows for Turkmenistan, Middle Eastern countries, including Iran to join the project in the future. The project also is very important in integration of Azerbaijan to the West. In such a case, our partnership with them expands. This is also the beginning of the new economic era and holds prospects for our country. It means our country will develop rapidly in the future. Azerbaijan’s military power will also increase. And we will easily resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict”. 

Expert economic Ilham Shaban thinks the “Southern Gas Corridor” Advisory Council II was larger in scope: “Despite the 40% decrease in the price of energy and the negative predictions of international energy agencies and financial enterprises about the oil prices, the fact that representatives of many international financial institutes attended “Southern Gas Corridor” proves the importance of the project and reveals that it serves the strategic interests of the West”. 

Shafa Tapdig