Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 18
The Southern Gas Corridor is already a reality, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said during the "On the Road to (Price) Stability? The return of OPEC and the Geopolitics of Oil" roundtable as part of the Munich Security Conference.
“It is an integrated pipeline system of three different pipelines connecting Azerbaijan with European markets, and connecting Azerbaijan with the countries on route to European markets,” he said. “This project created an absolutely new regional cooperation format where there are countries of the Caucasus – Georgia and Azerbaijan and Turkey, and then countries of European Union like Greece, Bulgaria and Italy and also Albania as a candidate. So it is not easy to provide interests of all these players.”
“For this reason, together with European Commission we launched three years ago a format, which is called the Consultative Advisory Council of the Southern Gas Corridor,” he added.
He noted that the first two meetings of the Consultative Advisory Council were already held in Baku, and the third meeting is scheduled with the presidency of Maros Sefcovic Feb. 23.
“There are important achievements,” Ilham Aliyev said. “I can tell you that implementation of one of the main segments of the Southern Gas Corridor – the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline – is already around 65 percent complete. Another segment, which is called the South Caucasus Pipeline, is close to 80 percent.”
“Implementation of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which is called TAP, is around 34-35 percent,” he noted. “The development of the Shah Deniz gas field, which is one of the biggest fields in the world, is already 90 percent done. Our target is to deliver first new gas from Azerbaijan to the markets next year, and if there are no artificial delays in some of the partner countries, to complete this project by 2020.”
Azerbaijan is a shareholder of all the four segments of the Southern Gas Corridor, Ilham Aliyev noted, adding that Azerbaijan is also an investor.
“We also raise money from the World Bank, from international financial institutions, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” he said. “We expect funds from EBRD, from EIB. So it's a really broad financial, infrastructure, technical, energy project, which was initiated by our country, and we are proud of that.”
Of course, the new format of cooperation between these countries creates absolutely new spirit of cooperation in the region, Ilham Aliyev noted.
It creates interconnections, interdependence, predictability, reliability and partnership, he said.
“So after the completion of the project the role of Azerbaijan as a reliable and the only new source of natural gas for Europe will definitely grow and our relations with the European institutions will strengthen,” Azerbaijani president said.