Minister: Syria intends to conclude agreement on Azerbaijani gas supplies for period till 2020 (INTERVIEW)
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 24 / Trend, U. Sadikhova /
Trend interviews Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister, Azerbaijan-Syria Intergovernmental Commission on Cooperation Co-Chairman Sufian Al Alao.
Trend: In what way is Syria interested in buying Azerbaijani gas? What amount of supplies can be offered?
Sufian Al Alao: Azerbaijani Energy and Industry Minister Natig Aliyev discussed ways for our two countries to cooperate during his visit to Syria in March 2010. He stressed Azerbaijani gas supplies to Syria, cultural exchanges, and establishing joint ventures. All of these ideas were reflected in a special document signed March 3 by Aliyev and his Syrian counterpart, which marked the beginning of talks about a possible gas agreement.
Our working groups discussed a draft agreement April 20 to purchase 1-1.5 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas annually from mid-2011 to 2020, with the possibility of a five-year extension.
Q: How will the gas be supplied? Do you plan to transport the gas to other countries?
A: Azerbaijani gas will be transported to Syria through a Turkish pipeline that will open along the Syrian-Turkish border. If an Azerbaijani gas purchase agreement is signed by other Arab nations, then the pipeline could be used to sell gas to other countries in the region.
Q: Aliyev said that the idea to establish joint ventures was discussed during his visit to Syria. In which sectors would these ventures operate?
A: Baku will host the first meeting of an intergovernmental commission on economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation June 29-30. We will examine specific opportunities to establish joint ventures in the oil and gas sector. We assumed that these companies will work both inside and outside Syria and Azerbaijan. These ventures would be engaged in oil and gas exploration and development, and providing energy services.
Q: In what way is Syria interested in sharing its energy experiences with Azerbaijan?
A: During the intergovernmental commission's upcoming meeting, Azerbaijan and Syria will discuss possibilities to share knowledge and experience in the oil and gas sector. In particular, this means using existing higher educational institutions in Azerbaijan to teach Syrian personnel. Cooperation will also be discussed in other aspects of the energy sector. During the meeting, a double taxation agreement will be signed between our respective state agencies, as will a memorandum of understanding. We also plan to discuss economics, agriculture, health, tourism, education, culture and banking cooperation.