Azerbaijan to help strengthen energy security of Central and Eastern Europe

Economy Materials 3 June 2015 12:07 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3

By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

Azerbaijan is an important partner that will help to strengthen the energy security of Poland, Central and Eastern Europe, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Janusz Piechociński told Trend June 2.

"Azerbaijan is a very stable country with good economy," he said.

"Several projects of new gas pipelines to Central Europe - Nabucco West and South Stream were suspended in 2014. At present, we know one thing. These projects will not be realized," he said. "Today the only project being implemented in this area is Azerbaijan's TAP project. Therefore, Poland, Central and Eastern Europe are very interested in great expanding of cooperation with Azerbaijan and SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan)."

TAP project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian Sea region to Italy's south through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and further to West Europe. The total length of the pipeline will near 870 kilometers. The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the possibility of increasing to 20 billon cubic meters per year.

It is planned to start the pipeline's construction May 16, 2016. TAP shareholders are: BP - 20 percent, State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) - 20 percent, Statoil - 20 percent, Fluxys - 19 percent, Enagas - 16 percent, Axpo - five percent.

Piechociński said that it would be good if this project opened a way to the Turkmen gas.

"Azerbaijan and the EU mutually understand each other," he said. "Azerbaijan has made Europe a big and very fair offer. So wherever I am in the EU - Berlin, Paris and other EU countries, I emphasize the great importance of Azerbaijan for the EU. But I reiterate that Europe must clearly define a kind of its support for this project."

He said that the Energy Union, established by the EU on the initiative of Poland, must be a union for partners outside the EU, with very transparent working principles.

"We need to unite for the sake of energy security, competitive industry and the most competitive price for consumers," he said. "We need to eliminate competition and rivalry based on struggle and build competition based on cooperation. For example, it is not difficult for Gazprom to build an alternative pipeline, but it should be done not to eliminate someone, but rather to complement. We have plenty of space for everyone."

Deputy prime minister also said that under the current conditions, trust between the parties is very important during the signing of such enormous agreements.

"One can buy gas, but not the trust," he said. "Therefore, trust, which has already been confirmed in practice, is what attracts both in relations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the ministers."

Piechociński said that given the strategic position of Azerbaijan, Poland needs to develop cooperation with this country in all fields, not only on the state level but on the private level as well.

"Power industry, gas, oil are the raw materials of great importance, but it is equally important to raise the level of trust," he said.

"Azerbaijan has invited the minister of oil of Iraq [to the opening ceremony of the 22nd International Caspian Oil & Gas 2015 Exhibition and Conference], despite the fact that this country is the competitor in terms of oil prices," he said. "Thus, Azerbaijan shows that it respects its competitors," he said.

"Azerbaijan is creating a new kind of competition, while fighting for investment, it respects its competitors. In fact, the country is implementing a new business strategy - partnership in rivalry."


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