BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 24
The fourth meeting of the energy ministers of the member-states of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) was held under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan, at which the "Baku Declaration" was adopted, Trend reports with reference to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Energy.
High-ranking representatives of ECO member-states, namely, Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, as well as a number of international organizations took part in the videoconference.
Azerbaijani Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov, who chaired the meeting, spoke about the role of ECO as a format of cooperation that promotes multifaceted and mutually beneficial relations in Eurasia.
“Azerbaijan is the initiator and active participant in a number of projects within the ECO in the fields of transport, energy, regional integration and socio-economic development,” the minister added.
"Azerbaijan's trade turnover with the ECO member-states last year reached about $4.9 billion,” Shahbazov said. “The share of these countries in Azerbaijan's foreign trade is 20 percent. Until now, these countries have invested $16.9 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. At the same time, Azerbaijan has invested more than $18.5 billion in the economies of the ECO member-states."
While speaking about the contribution of the achievements of Azerbaijan's energy policy to the energy cooperation within the ECO, as well as about bilateral and trilateral formats of this cooperation, Shahbazov stressed that the extensive infrastructure of oil and gas pipelines created at the initiative of Azerbaijan, connecting the Caspian, Black, Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, ensures the interests of the regional countries and the solution of energy security issues.
“So, to date, more than 438 million tons of oil only from Azerbaijan have been supplied to the Turkish and world markets via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline,” the minister said. “The gas pipelines ensured the supply of 82 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey.”
“About 20.7 million tons of the Turkmen crude oil and oil products, as well as 106,000 tons of Kazakh oil, have been supplied to the world market via the BTC over the past three years,” Shahbazov said. “The role of the Southern Gas Corridor in energy integration was especially emphasized.”
"Some 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas have been supplied to the Turkish consumers via TANAP while 2.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe through TAP this year,” Shahbazov added. “Mentioning of the “Southern Gas Corridor” in the “Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey" confirms the strategic importance of this project at the highest level.”
The minister also touched upon the issues of support for ongoing and planned projects, reforms in the electric power sector, the process of creating the "Regional Electricity Market" of the ECO and new prospects for cooperation.
“Today, the new realities that have developed in the region under the leadership of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev contribute to the broad cooperation within the ECO on new projects that will strengthen security and stability, including energy security,” the minister said.
“The future auctions for renewable energy projects with a capacity of about 700 megawatts, as well as the joint use of the rich wind potential of the Caspian Sea, wind, solar and hydropower potential of the Nagorno-Karabakh region are opportunities for intensifying the energy and economic cooperation within the ECO," Shahbazov said.
In turn, Secretary General of ECO Hadi Soleimanpour spoke about the goals of the organization in the next decade to bring the share of "green energy" in the total energy balance among the member-states up to a higher level than now, to strengthen cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
Soleimanpour stressed the importance of a joint project between ECO and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to establish a Clean Energy Center. The confidence that this center will become a promising element of the "Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers" covering the whole world was also expressed.
Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian and others who delivered speeches also stressed that such initiatives as the establishment of a Clean Energy Center and cooperation in the field of renewable energy will make an important contribution to the transition to energy in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Following the meeting, the "Baku Declaration" was adopted with the aim of strengthening energy cooperation within the ECO.
The document envisages broad interaction among the member-states of the organization in the field of supply of crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals and oil products, the creation of electric power networks, regional trade in electricity, clean energy sources, energy efficiency, financing the transition to clean energy in accordance with the global steps to combat climate change.
The declaration also emphasizes that there are opportunities for the use of "green energy" in the Azerbaijani territories liberated from the Armenian occupation.
The use of this potential will have a positive impact on the fight against climate change, the document says.
The proposal was made for the ECO member-states and relevant international organizations to support the Azerbaijani Green Energy Concept, the declaration said.
The "Energy Strategy" and "Action Plan" of the ECO until 2030, the "Charter of the Clean Energy Center", the roadmap of the "Regional Electricity Market" were adopted at the meeting.