Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.20
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
The Contract of the Century was indeed historic and stood the test of two decades, the U.S. State Department spokesman Amos Hochstein said Sept.20 during a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century and the Southern Gas Corridor laying.
"Today marks 20 years since the signing of Contract of the Century, Production Sharing Agreement for Azerbaijan's ACG oil field. We in the United States are honored to have played a critical role supporting Azerbaijan with development and completion of the BTC Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan Pipeline," the diplomat said.
"American Presidents from Clinton to Obama have been steadfast supporters of this project," he said.
"The ceremony of breaking ground for this new project of bringing gas from the Caspian to Europe, marking a monumental new project for a new century - the 21st century, could not have come at a more fitting time," Hochstein said.
We all have been reminded recently at a critical need for nations to benefit from basic right energy security, he said.
"No country in the world should be forced to depend on a single source and single supplier of energy. Diversification is big part of that answer," the diplomat said.
With the completion of the BTC, the expansion of South Caucasus Pipeline along with the construction of TANAP and TAP Azerbaijan will play an increasingly important role in diversification of Europe energy supplies Hochstein said.
The opening this corridor actually changes the energy map of our continent, he said.
"Twenty years ago nobody believed the BTC pipeline would be built. But the determination of the people of Azerbaijan along with their partner in the United States, in Turkey and in Europe overcame the sceptics," the diplomat said.
"Our energy partnership with Azerbaijan is strong and continues to strengthen as more projects come on line. As President Obama said this past June, the USA sees the completion of this project as an important step toward expanding Europe's gas supplies and stands ready to assist," Hochstein said.
A solemn ceremony dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century and the laying of Southern Gas Corridor started in Baku Sept.20.
The ceremony was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, several Heads of State and Government, officials, foreign diplomats accredited in the country and foreign guests.