Germany strongly favors Southern Corridor, whatever pipeline it takes

Germany strongly favors Southern Corridor, whatever pipeline it takes

Azerbaijan , Baku, Oct. 3 /Trend A.Badalova/

The Southern Corridor will be a necessary addition to existing gas providers, said Herbert Quelle, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Azerbaijan on the eve of the Day of German Unity, celebrated on October 3.

According to Quelle, Germany with the other EU member states is strongly in favor of the Southern Corridor, whatever pipeline it takes.

"I hope that the decision on the pipeline route will be taken these days," he said.

The Southern Corridor is a priority EU energy project. It will diversify energy supply routes and resources, and increase EU energy security. The Southern Corridor includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), White Stream, and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline).

The gas produced within the second phase of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz Field is considered to be a main gas source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. Its reserves are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters. Under the Shah Deniz-2 project, Azerbaijan plans to ship 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe.

The consortium for the Shah Deniz field development expects concrete proposals from various pipeline projects by Oct.1, 2011. Based on these proposals a route for gas transportation will be chosen by late 2011.

The ambassador said the recent mandate by 27 EU member states to the EU commission to negotiate with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan the framework of a Trans Caspian pipeline appreciates the role that these two countries can play for Europe's energy needs.

"With new discoveries of gas Azerbaijan is gaining in importance as a provider, and it will also become a transit country," he said.

Today, Azerbaijan's proven gas reserves are estimated at 2.2 trillion cubic meters, but after ascertaining the amount of gas reserves on the Absheron field, the figure may reach 2.55 trillion cubic meters.

Regarding the transit agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey, the ambassador hoped that it would be signed soon.

"We are hopeful that the agreement which is a necessary factor for coming to some result with the Southern Corridor projects is being signed soon between Azerbaijan and Turkey," the ambassador added.

'Not to turn wealth into a curse'

The current level of trade and economic cooperation between Germany and Azerbaijan is good, but there is room for improvement, Quelle underscored.

"Germany and Azerbaijan are only two actors in a process called globalisation. As Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle said just recently, "the main resources and capital of the Germans are between their ears". We have very limited natural resources in the ground. Azerbaijan is blessed with oil and gas. If you want, we can assist in this wealth not turning into a curse, as we have seen happen in a few historic examples," he said.

According to the ambassador, last year the volume of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Germany was in the region of 2 billion euros.

Perspectives in non-oil sector

"Despite the importance of Azerbaijan as a producer of gas, one must not forget that these resources are finite. Therefore, the government's decision to diversify the economy is wise," the ambassador said.

According to Quelle, Germany has special know-how in alternative energy and energy efficiency.

"The time to begin attracting this know-how is now", - he said.

The role of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector gradually increases in investments which flow into the country. Based on official statistics, some 71.8 percent (3.944.4 billion manat) of funds invested in the main capital in January-August, 2011 are directed toward the development of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector, including 14.9 percent (816.9 million manat) in the non-oil industrial sector.

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