Azerbaijan can help Europe to diversify its energy supplies: Head of European Union Delegation in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 9 / Trend /
The European Union sees Azerbaijan as a country that can help Europe to diversify its energy supplies, Roland Kobia, Head of European Union Delegation in Azerbaijan, believes.
"Azerbaijan moreover sits in the middle of an energy-rich region, between Central Asia and the Middle East. After all, and this is the beauty of the region from an energy perspective, the potential of the wider region is immense and provides with many opportunities to develop strong ties with Europe," Kobia said in an interview with Trend.
According to him, Europe offers suppliers a 500-million people strong market, with perhaps the highest degree of commercial predictability, political stability and financial solvency.
"The EU is surely one of the most attractive consumer markets for any country in the world willing to sell its gas in a safe and long-term environment. So, the EU-Azerbaijan energy relations will be one of mutual interest, of inter-dependence, and a win-win game," he added.
The Southern Corridor is part of the overall strategy of the EU to diversify its source of gas to ensure its long term energy security, Kobia said.
"There are several initiatives being worked on concomitantly (Nabucco, ITGI, TAP...) and the EU is always happy to see competition," he said adding that the European Commission has been supporting Nabucco since the initial phase as it would eventually bring important volumes of gas.
"It is a project which is strongly supported by all countries involved and that has made very important progress this year, both at political, commercial and technical levels. Also International Financial Institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have declared their support to Nabucco," he said.
According to him, the final investment decision on Shah-Deniz 2 is extremely important and it needs to be done very quickly.
"Europe should have access to these energy supplies, and Azerbaijan should be able to sell them without delay. You are sure that your gas will be sold in a long-term without any unforeseen problems, as you may have had in the past," he said.
Nabucco is however not exclusive of other projects if these are commercially sound and if they eventually can bring important amounts of gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, he added.
"Europe will need gas, and all routes bringing new gas will no doubt be welcomed on the European market," Kobia added.
Regarding gas transit, he said that the EU has clearly favored the Turkish corridor.
"We understand that commercial negotiations are important for both Azerbaijan and Turkey, and that time is needed. However, the EU feels that the situation is now ripe and mature for a final decision, which would allow the next steps of the process to move forward. We are however aware of the fact that some alternatives are studied in case the outstanding discussions between Azerbaijan and Turkey would not be concluded in a satisfactory way," he said.
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