US envoy: Azerbaijan plays important role in boosting regional, global energy security
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 28
By Anvar Mammadov – Trend:
Azerbaijan plays an important role in boosting regional and global energy security, US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta said at a business dinner of the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham), dedicated to completion of his diplomatic mission in the country.
"Likewise, while Azerbaijan’s oil and gas deposits are important in and of themselves, the country’s geography means it – along with Georgia and Turkey – is key in moving those deposits out to Europe and the rest of the world, to boosting regional and global energy security, to moving oil and gas from this country and beyond in a way that ensures an alternative to routes moving through Russia or Iran. But while Azerbaijan has been and will continue to be strategically important for these reasons, other factors are raising Azerbaijan’s international profile," he said.
Another factor ensuring Azerbaijan's important role in the region, according to the ambassador, is the country's transit potential.
"The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad and the development of the new port at Alat south of Baku, for example, are both key components of the New Silk Road and factors that have the potential to improve and expand trade between the western and the eastern and southern portions of Eurasia. At a conference earlier in March, speakers noted the new transport facilities will drop shipping times from 35 days between China and Western Europe to 10-15. The new facilities also offer improved access between India and other south Asian markets and Western Europe," Cekuta said.
Certainly Azerbaijan needs to continue an aggressive effort to diversify its economy, he said.
"Again, look at Baku’s sister city Houston which diversified its economy after oil prices crashed in the eighties and which, as a result, weathered the drop in oil prices that began in June, 2014. But I am convinced that like the Permian Basin, Pennsylvania, and other long-established oil and gas provinces in the United States that have seen tremendous upswings in productivity in recent years due to the development and application of new technologies, upswings so great that the International Energy Agency and others forecast the U.S. is on the road to being once again the world’s largest oil producer, there is still further potential for Azerbaijan as an oil and gas producer. Moreover, I continue to see this area as one with significant potential for U.S. firms," he said.
According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, Azerbaijan's trade with the US in January-February 2018 amounted to $150.6 million The share of the US in the total trade turnover of Azerbaijan is 4.11 percent.