Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 9 / Trend R.Hafizoglu /
Energy exports are a priority, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said in an interview today with Trend. He added that Iraq intends to participate in major global gas projects such as the Nabucco pipeline, he added.
"Participation in regional energy supply is paramount in our plans to join and cooperate with the global economy," Al-Hashimi said. "Iraq wants to become an active participant in the Nabucco project, as well as in other projects without the involvement of the geopolitical axis directed against other countries. This is what we have stated repeatedly."
He stressed that Iraqi gas deliveries must recommence in the near future.
Al-Hashimi added that Baghdad hopes to strengthen and expand relations with Azerbaijan, and hopes to learn from Azerbaijan's experience in terms of its economic development.
"Azerbaijan's experience is a combination of foreign policy and economics," he said. "We want to learn from this experience to develop the economy."
Iraq is committed to "promoting political understanding, economic cooperation and strengthening friendship between our two peoples to further develop relations with Azerbaijan," Al-Hashimi noted.
"Iraq's economy is open to all and we want to push an all-round development of relations with all of the countries in the region," he said.
The Nabucco gas pipeline project is worth 7.9 billion euro. Participants are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE. Each participant has an equal 16.67-percent share. Construction is planned to launch in 2011, with first supplies commencing in 2014. Its maximum capacity will hit 31 billion cubic meters per year. The Nabucco Gas Pipeline International will invest 30 percent of the project's total cost. The remaining 70 percent will be paid by loans.
Azerbaijan and Iraq are considered major potential gas suppliers for the project's first phase.