Baku, Azerbaijan Feb. 29
The second Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Meeting kicked off in Baku on Feb. 29.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has attended the meeting. He emphasized the significance of holding this event and added that it will focus on the work done in previous years and future tasks.
The president noted that high-level and successful coordination work was carried out between the project's participants following the last year's meeting. President Aliyev recalled that the groundbreaking ceremony for TANAP project was held in 2015 and added that this project plays an important role in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.
He noted that the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project will make it possible to even more expand the beneficial cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and other countries.
Today, energy security holds an important place in world politics and on the agenda of international organizations, according to Azerbaijan's president.
He noted that Azerbaijan remains committed to all its obligations and even more develops the principles of market economy.
Ilham Aliyev said that energy cooperation can't be a political requirement and this issue should be free of any political format.
Azerbaijan has created a strong cooperation between the project's participants and this cooperation will create opportunities to achieve success in other spheres of economy as well, according to Ilham Aliyev.
The president added that energy security plays an important role in relations with the European Union.
The president added that delays and obstacles in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project should be prevented.
In order to overcome all obstacles, it is necessary to combine the efforts of the governments, according to Azerbaijan's president.
The implementation of TANAP project is in an active stage, said President Aliyev and expressed confidence that the TAP project will also be implemented in time.
The Southern Gas Corridor is the historic project of the 21st century, said the president and expressed gratitude to the governments for the contribution to the project's implementation.
Further, addressing the event, Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said that President Aliyev's support to the project's implementation creates opportunities for carrying out even more effective work.
The European Commission's Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic, for his part, talked about the importance of delivering natural resources from the Caspian Sea to European markets.
The European Union considers the energy security as an important issue, he said, adding that there is a great interest in the Southern Gas Corridor project in South-Eastern Europe and Balkan states.
Sefcovic also praised the interest and support to the Southern Gas Corridor by international financial organizations and noted that the EU supports this project.
The second meeting of the Advisory Council continued after a short break.
Energy Minister Natig Aliyev spoke about the work done as part of the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is a complex project from the technical point of view.
He noted that the gas to be transported by the Southern Gas Corridor will play an important role in providing European countries with this fuel.
Emphasizing the great interest by such major European countries as France, Spain, Italy and Greece in this project, the energy minister said this project's implementation will make it possible to create new jobs.
Further, Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak talked about the importance of TANAP, which is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor project.
He noted that Turkey will continue to provide political, economic and technical assistance in this project's implementation.
The US State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Amos Hochstein said for his part that the Southern Gas Corridor project plays an important role in Europe's energy security.
Talking about the difficulties in the energy security sector and the ways of overcoming them, Hochstein said that the US will continue to support this project.
Director General for International Energy Affairs at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change Edmund Hosker congratulated Azerbaijani government with organization of the meeting.
Noting that the UK supports the Southern Gas Corridor project, Hosker talked about the successful cooperation between his country and Azerbaijan.
He further emphasized Azerbaijan's role in the project's implementation.
BP's Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey Gordon Birrell said that all the goals regarding the Southern Gas Corridor will be reached on the schedule and 2016 will be an important period in the project's implementation.
Further, the event continued with demonstration of footage showing progress in the TANAP project's implementation.
Managing director of the TAP project Ian Bradshaw said for his part that the pipeline's construction will start in 2016. He also talked about the work done within the project.
Moreover, Director General of the Southern Gas Corridor Closed Joint-Stock Company Afgan Isayev, Director General of Private Sector Operations Department of the Asian Development Bank Todd Freeland, representative of the European Investment Bank Group Massimo d'Eufemia, head of the Baku resident office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Neil McKain, and Regional Manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the South Caucasus Jan van Bilsen talked about the strategic importance of the Southern Gas Corridor project.