By Claude Salhani - Trend:
In ancient times the Silk Road connected trade and commerce between Europe and the Far East, passing through Central Asia and the Caucasus. Today the trade of prime goods still moves through the Caucasus to European markets, and the Far East. The big difference is that the camel trains have been replaced by a network of pipelines such as the Southern Gas Corridor.
The deal signed 20 years ago today has produced "a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
Indeed, as point out the European leader, The Corridor is more than a pipeline. It will be a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century, a true geostrategic project. The Southern Gas Corridor will have as much importance today in the business world as the Silk Road held in days of yore.
In that respect Azerbaijan's contribution to the security of Europe is immeasurable. Just like the Silk Road this pipeline will stretch over 2,000 kilometers along the Caucasus, across Turkey, through Greece and Albania, across the Adriatic, to connect the Caspian with the heart of EU.
This will give Azerbaijan a position of strength and prestige in Europe. It will find Azerbaijan playing an important role in contributing to the security of Europe.
The ceremony marking the start of the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion project took placed in Baku on Sept. 20. This great and important event, which can be named as the starting point for the Southern Gas Corridor implementation, marks not only Azerbaijan's success in becoming one of the main players in the world energy, but also opens a new stage in European energy security.
The Southern Gas Corridor is a huge project, which will change not only European, but also the whole world's energy map. For the first time in the history gas from the Caspian region will get access to the European market. The project is supposed to solve the EU's main challenge, which it has been facing over the years - dependence on one supply source.
In the light of the Ukrainian crisis the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor seems for the EU to be the way out of the situation of uncertainty and risks around Russia's gas supplies.
Claude Salhani is a senior editor with Trend Agency.
You can follow Claude on Twitter @Claudesalhani