Azerbaijan is now on threshold of new phase of energy sector development: U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept.19. / Trend /
Azerbaijan is now on the threshold of a new and even more promising phase of energy sector development, William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs said at the conference held in the Georgetown University.
According to Burns, who was speaking on U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations, the U.S. and Azerbaijan have a long partnership in major strategic energy projects that have created linkages between West and East, the website of the State Department reported.
The recent signing of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement was a major milestone for opening up a new natural gas corridor to Europe. It is important that Turkey and Azerbaijan build on this momentum and soon reach an agreement on gas pricing, transit, and any remaining issues needed to make the Southern Corridor a reality, Burns added.
"Such projects have not only unlocked Caspian energy resources for the world, but have also fueled Azerbaijan's economy and secured a more independent economic future for the Azerbaijani people," Burns said.
Burns expressed his hope that Azerbaijan and its neighbors will continue to develop oil and gas production.
"We encourage ongoing discussions between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and other partners to find reliable, transparent ways to help this production reach European and other markets. And I assure you that the United States stands ready to keep working closely with Azerbaijan, our other friends in the region, and the private sector to strengthen and expand global energy supply, he added.
Burns mentioned that while several major U.S. firms, such as Chevron and Exxon, operate in Azerbaijan's energy industry, we'd frankly like to see more U.S. investment in the non-oil sectors. American companies can help Azerbaijan diversify its economy by bringing new technologies and skill sets.
"I'm confident that investment will flow as long as Azerbaijan continues its program of economic and democratic reform, which is the third pillar of our shared agenda," Burns said
Azerbaijan has already made significant strides in improving the country's infrastructure and regulatory environment. Joining the World Trade Organization - an aspiration that Azerbaijan has pursued and the U.S. strongly supports - promises to be one of the fastest ways for the country to seize the benefits of foreign markets and attract international investors, Burns said.