The producers of energy resources, transit countries and consumers intend to develop and deepen prolonged strategic relations for reliable, secure and consistent provision of European markets with energy resources of Azerbaijan.
This was stated in a joint declaration signed in Baku on February 29 following the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Second Ministerial Meeting. The document was undersigned by 12 ministers who took part in the meeting in the presence of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, as well as Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.
The document also approved carrying out of legal procedures and regulative measures by these countries for implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project. It was noted that existing and future opportunities for the expansion of the project beyond the EU, including the Balkans will be evaluated. For this purpose, a special interest is shown for projects of Greece-Bulgaria and the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline interconnectors.
The document supported strengthening of cooperation with national and international financial institutions to finance the project. The sides will continue consultations at the level of bilateral and multilateral working groups for to resolving issues that may arise in connection with the involvement of new suppliers or transit countries.
The Azerbaijan-initiated Southern Gas Corridor project envisages the transportation of the gas extracted at the giant Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas will make a 3,500 kilometer journey from the Caspian Sea into Europe. This requires upgrading the existing infrastructure and the development of a chain of new pipelines.
The first gas supplies through the corridor to Georgia and Turkey are given a target date of late 2018. Gas deliveries to Europe are expected just over a year after the first gas is produced offshore in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev believes that this project is of strategic importance not only for Azerbaijan, but also for many countries, including Europe.
“Therefore, the Advisory Council was created to coordinate all the projects within the Southern Gas Corridor,” he said during the press conference following the meeting.
Aliyev noted that the agenda of today’s meeting was very broad, and detailed information was provided to the participants of the event.
“Each country expressed its opinion and discussed its role in the project,” he said adding that the work to be done in 2016 was discussed as well.
Aliyev believes that the participation of Sefcovic and Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs of the U.S. State Department Amos Hochstein shows that both the EU and the U.S. strongly support and show great interest in the Southern Gas Corridor project. The minister further noted that Azerbaijan will have no problems with financing of its share in the project.
In his remarks, Sefcovic said volatility of the energy market just made very clearly the commitment to make sure that the project is completing on time even more decisive. Speaking at the press conference, Hochstein said while there are announcements from the companies of the energy sector under thousand of hundred billions of dollars of capital expenditures reductions, the private and government sectors confirm commitment to continue the Southern Gas Corridor project.
“That is a strong statement of importance of this project that is going to be completed on time in this environment of the energy markets,” he added.
The Southern Gas Corridor is an important project in ensuring energy security, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak said. The minister said Turkey strongly supports the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and thanked Azerbaijan for holding the meetings of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council.