BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 3
By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
Azerbaijan’s achievement on changing the energy map of Europe could only beсome possible as a result of implementation of a well-balanced and far-sighted oil and gas transportation strategy, Doctor of Economics Sciences, Professor Fikret Yusifov told Trend.
“The founder of this strategy was the great leader Heydar Aliyev, in 1994. At a time when the socio-political situation was unstable, there were coup attempts; it was thanks to the political will and determination of the great leader, the Contract of the Century with multibillion investments was signed with large international oil companies. Along with the fact that this contract was the foundation for the prospective successful energy and transport policy of Azerbaijan, it also became the starting point for all further economic and political success of the country,” Yusifov said.
“After that, the signing of another 26 agreements with oil companies from 19 countries necessitated the construction of a pipeline through which it will be possible to bring the extracted oil to the world market. So, the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline started to operate in 1999. In 2006, transportation of Azerbaijani oil began from the Turkish port of Ceyhan,” Yusifov said.
“Azerbaijan also has large reserves of natural gas. The supply of this gas to the markets of neighboring countries, and from there to EU countries, meant the successful continuation of the strategy in the 21st century, the foundation of which was laid in 1994 by the Contract of the Century," the professor said.
“The Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, which started to operate in 2007, allowed exporting of gas extracted from Shahdeniz to Georgia, Turkey, and Greece. The Southern Gas Corridor project, which originates from the Shahdeniz 2 field, will contribute on solving the problem of ensuring the energy security of the EU,” Yusifov said.
“Along with the fact that Azerbaijan has become a key country in providing the energy security of Europe, large transport corridors between East and West, North and South also pass through the country. The opening on December 30, 2017 of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which connected the Trans-European and Trans-Asian railway networks, means the restoration of the historic Silk Road. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway almost three times reduces the time of transportation of goods from China to EU compared to transshipment,” the professor said.
Yusifov added that Azerbaijan’s initiatives to create a North-South transport corridor turned the country into a major transport and logistics center at the junction of EU and Asia.
"This corridor will connect India, Pakistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Northern Europe. Azerbaijan is the only country that has land borders with both Russia and Iran, and such a geographical location plays a key role in the development of trilateral regional development," he said.
"Implementation of all these projects will bring enough economic and political dividends to Azerbaijan. Currently, the influence and authority of Azerbaijan in the region is so high that the implementation of any major project in the region without its participation and consent is just impossible. The large energy and transport projects implemented by Azerbaijan give the country a chance to re-create the energy and transport map of EU,” Yusifov said.