A press conference was held on the results of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council

 

A press conference on the outcomes of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council was held with participation of the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov and the Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources of the European Commission Gunther Oettinger.

The Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov mentioned that strategic partnership has been put in the forefront in the Joint Declaration signed by the participants of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council and the role of Azerbaijan as the initiator of the project was once again emphasized. The Minister also underlined that the work carried out within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor is highly appreciated by the President of Azerbaijan.

The Minister pointed out that interest in the Southern Gas Corridor by other countries and the number of participants in this year's meeting have increased significantly. The representatives of 17 countries have attended the meeting. Serbia, Hungary and San Marino were represented at the meeting for the first time.

Parviz Shahbazov also informed that the works on “Shah Deniz-2”, South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion and TANAP's natural gas transportation section to Turkey have been completed as part of the Southern Gas Corridor Project. 85 percent of the construction of the TAP pipeline, which will bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe, has also been accomplished.

Answering the question regarding with the Trans-Caspian Pipeline project and the possibility of exporting Turkmen gas to Europe via the Sothern Gas Corridor, the Minister of Energy mentioned that Turkmenistan has been joining to the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council for two years, which shows the country's interest in the project. There has to be agreement between the parties to transport Turkmen gas via Southern Gas Corridor. The Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council may consider these proposals if there is consensus between the supplier and purchasing parties involved in the corridor.

Gunter Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, underlined that the European Union and Azerbaijan have great perspectives for energy cooperation and the European Union is ready to support further development of this field in Azerbaijan. Reminding the fact that in 2009 “Nabucco” Project was put in the forefront in order to deliver Caspian natural gas to the Europe, the Commissioner accentuated that Nabucco is known as the opera, and the Southern Gas Corridor is a reality. It was stated that the gas extracted from the Shah Deniz-2 field is now being delivered to Turkey via the pipeline. Work on the TAP project, which is the last part of this project, continues. These works are expected to be completed in 2019-2020.

Oettinger also touched upon the views of Italian representatives on TAP during the event. He noted that work on the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Italy is under way. "Energy security for Europe is a very important issue. In the next 10 years, the importance of natural gas on the continent will increase. Diversification of routes and sources is important for us. In this regard, Caspian gas, Azerbaijani gas is a new source and a new route for us."

The Commissioner also underlined that Azerbaijan and SOCAR are currently the strategic energy partners of the European Union. "In the Netherlands, natural gas is declining year by year, and we have to import more natural gas. For us the Southern Gas Corridor means a new gas line and new gas reserves." – the European Commissioner said. It was noted that after the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor, further cooperation in other areas was also discussed during today’s event. The overall objective is to increase the volume of gas going to Europe for the next 10 years by 20 billion cubic meters, or even 25 billion cubic meters a year.

Speaking about the "Comprehensive Agreement" which will bring the relationship between the European Union and Azerbaijan to the new level, Oettinger mentioned that they are interested in energy cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan in expanding fuel, renewable energy sources, modernization of power grids, as well as in the field of transport. The European Union is committed to contributing to Azerbaijan's further diversification of its economy and expanding its cooperation in renewable energy sector.

Answering the question about the prospects of the Trans-Caspian project, Gunter Oettinger mentioned that participation of the government of Turkmenistan in this meeting is a clear signal by the official Ashgabad to this route. Azerbaijan is a country producing natural gas and at the same time supplying services. Azerbaijan and the European Union have made proposals on the transportation of Turkmen gas. The final decision depends on Ashgabad. If Turkmenistan is interested in transporting its gas through the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, this decision can be taken. This project should be invested. The decision on this should be made by the government of Turkmenistan.

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