Yuri Shafrannik: Azerbaijan Key Player in Caspian
An exclusive interview of Trend Correspondent to Moscow, with Chairman of Russian Oil and Gas Producers Union Yuri Shafrannik:
How do you evaluate perspectives of Azerbaijan`s participation in the global energy dialogue connected with the development of oil and gas routs?
I have always considered Azerbaijan as the key country and the key player in the Caspian both on its history, human resources, as well as its potential. I consider Azerbaijan as a reliable partner regardless of volumes of reserves the country has or will have. If it is turned to be that reserves in Kazakhstan's shelf of the Caspian Sea five times more than in Azerbaijan`s one, the country will remain the key player in the region.
What Perspectives of Azerbaijan as an energy supplier and country for transit as used in the development of transregional energy projects?
Azerbaijan is an energy resources supplier, not a transiter (transit country). Azerbaijan has chosen Georgia and Russia as a transit country. It may be Iran in the future. Regarding the Kazakhstan oil, it is going without saying that we, Russia, will insist on carrying this oil just via our territory. And we have a serious project with Kazakhstan CPC (Caspian Pipeline Consortium) (Tengiz-Novorossiysk. We also have other transit alternatives with this country. In this case, the Russian interests are aimed at Russia's becoming a transit country for this oil. But, we should consider and perceive it as a normal competition or find joint alternatives.
What about Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation on the pipeline Baku-Novorossiysk?
Since we have a pipeline, we have relations. Nothing has been changed. It is quite another matter that Azerbaijan has other alternatives. As for me, I think that Azerbaijan has the right to make a decision itself, if it considers this right, for the sake of its nation and its prosperity.
And how do you estimate the International Forum Energy Week being held in Moscow?
It is very pleasant that it is held just in the year when the Russian President put a proposal on energy equilibrium, energy cooperation, and Russia's participation in this forum. That has given an impetus to involving all countries to it, and that is excellent. Energy cooperation, particularly if there are not any opportunistic and political makeweights is the most health issue to all of us. In the early 1990s and later, Azerbaijan saw Russia as a stable player supported initiatives of Heydar Aliyev on different projects. Russia has backed all the projects. Russia is stable for Kazakhstan as well. Therefore, it is a fault to complain. We are interested in further cooperation.