Ilham Aliyev: Turkey - Azerbaijan unity allows to implement important strategic projects
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 10
Turkey is a great power on a global scale, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev during the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul.
“My dear brother, dear President Recep Tayyip Erdogan! Dear ladies and gentlemen! I am very glad to be on the soil of brotherly Turkey again. I would like to take this opportunity and wish peace, welfare and progress to brotherly Turkish people,” he added.
President Aliyev expressed gratitude to his Turkish counterpart for the invitation and hospitality.
Turkey has a decisive word on many issues of the world agenda, added President Aliyev.
“All this success has been achieved under the leadership of my brother, President Erdogan. Today, Turkey is developing successfully and rapidly. Turkey has come a great and honorable way under the leadership of President Erdogan. Today’s conference is a proof of that. As Turkey is becoming stronger, we are also strengthening,” said the president.
President Aliyev pointed out that Turkey and Azerbaijan stand by each other on all issues.
“We have a multifaceted cooperation which covers all spheres,” he said, adding that the unity and cooperation of Turkey and Azerbaijan in energy sphere enables the countries to implement a lot of important strategic projects, among which are Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and TANAP projects.
President Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is an ancient land of oil.
“Indeed, we believe that Azerbaijan is a home of oil, because the first industrial method of oil production was applied in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1846,” he added.
President Aliyev noted that at the same time, the year 1994 is remarkable for the signing of the “Contract of Century” which today plays the main role in filling the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
“Afterwards, a very rich gas field Shah Deniz was discovered in Azerbaijan. The reserve of this field is estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters. It is one of the largest fields on a global scale. Today, it is the resource base of the Southern Gas Corridor. Thus, currently, Azerbaijan has turned into a producer and exporter of oil and gas,” said the president.
He went on to add that the Southern Gas Corridor project consists of four parts.
“The first one is the Shah Deniz gas field. The Shah Deniz 2 project is 93 percent complete and will be fully completed soon. The second one is the South Caucasus Pipeline which connects Azerbaijan and Georgia. The work on this project is 87 percent complete. The third and the most important part is the TANAP gas pipeline which is 77 percent complete. We will mark the execution of this project next year. Finally, the fourth part is the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which is 44 percent complete,” he said, adding that all these four important projects constitute the Southern Gas Corridor.
The president noted that $40 billion worth of investment is needed for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project and the major part of this amount has already been invested.
Azerbaijan’s proven gas reserve is estimated at 2.6 trillion cubic meters and in the coming years, over decades, Azerbaijani gas will meet the demand of both European countries and countries of the region, added President Aliyev.
The president pointed out that seven countries participate in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Italy.
“Three Balkan countries can also join the Southern Gas Corridor in the future and relevant work is underway in this regard. That’s to say, we are expanding this project’s geography and can further expand in the future, because this project is an initiative benefiting every country,” said the president.
Implementation of this project shows that all countries and companies participating in it get benefit, said President Aliyev.
“We have created such a great cooperation format in which both producers, that’s to say, Azerbaijan and transit countries, as well as consumers work on the basis of common interests. This balance of interests paved way for the successful implementation of this major project, because there are quite a lot of technical, financial, economic and political issues,” said the president.
“Today, we can already say that the Southern Gas Corridor project will be implemented successfully and Azerbaijan will provide both European countries and the countries of the region with natural gas for many years to come.”
President Aliyev said that today, gas is the main factor ensuring energy security in the world.
“In this regard, Azerbaijan continues to make contribution to ensuring energy security. At the same time, Azerbaijani gas is the only new gas source to be transported to Europe, because all other gas sources are active. The new source has already been discovered and these gas reserves will be delivered to European markets through the new pipeline. That’s to say, our advantage is existence of both factors. This is a serious step towards the energy diversification,” added the president.
President Aliyev said that Azerbaijan understands its responsibility.
“We well understand that the projects which we are implementing together with partner countries, will ensure the energy balance and energy security of many countries and help them,” he added.
Of course, oil and gas issues are in the spotlight in this congress, noted President Aliyev.
“In conclusion, I would like to touch upon one issue. Usually, the countries which are not rich in oil think that if they had oil, they would be able to benefit it. But I can say that oil can bring both benefit and problems. It depends on how you use oil. We in Azerbaijan try to turn “black gold” into human capital and I believe we have achieved that. First of all, we protect our oil revenues in a very transparent way,” he added.
President Aliyev pointed out that the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is one of the most transparent funds in the world and was awarded by the UN.
“The first condition is full transparency. Information about the revenues of the State Oil Fund is regularly provided to the public. The second issue is the appropriate use of oil revenues. First of all, we directed the oil revenues to the infrastructure projects. Today, we export not only oil and gas, but also the energy generated at dozens of power stations which we have built in recent years,” he added.
President Aliyev pointed out that Azerbaijan has allocated large funds for infrastructure projects, building schools and hospitals.
“We are seriously fighting poverty. In fact, oil sector doesn’t create many jobs. By directing oil revenues to other sectors, we managed to reduce the level of poverty and unemployment, which currently stand at approximately 5-6 percent,” he said.
Further on, Ilham Aliyev said that big amounts of foreign investments are made in Azerbaijan and the country, in turn, makes investments abroad.
“Brotherly Turkey is in the first place here. To date, $10 billion worth of investments have been made in Turkey’s energy sector. This figure will nearly double in the coming years. In one word, today, when talking about energy security, the projects that we implemented come to mind,” he added.
The unity, friendship and brotherhood of Turkey and Azerbaijan don’t only determine the two countries’ benefits and successful future. It has a great influence on the region, said the president, adding that it brings stability to the region, paves way for creating new jobs, strengthens security measures and opens doors for broad cooperation.
“My dear brother, I once again express gratitude to you for the hospitality and invitation. I wish success to the work of the Congress!” concluded President Aliyev.