Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 20
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
Twenty years have passed since the date of signing the "Contract of the Century" for exploration and development of a block of offshore oil and gas fields "Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli" on September 20, 1994.
On this day Azerbaijani oil workers celebrate their professional holiday - "Oil Workers Day".
"Contract of the Century" can be considered the basis which determined the main trends of Azerbaijan's, laid by National Leader Heydar Aliyev. It turned Azerbaijan into one of the fastest growing countries in the world.
The oil and gas sector continues to be the engine of Azerbaijan's economy today. After gaining independence, the country achieved great success in the development of this area, which came to a standstill in the last years of the Soviet Union.
The oil and gas sector was up for a revival. A number of contracts for the development of fields, both onshore and offshore were signed in the country. As a result, Azerbaijan presented the world such legendary hydrocarbon deposits as a block of oil and gas fields "Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli" (ACG) and "Shah Deniz" gas condensate field in the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan, a country which has long ago proved itself to be a reliable supplier of oil to the world market, is on the brink of delivering its own gas to the European market.
Azerbaijan's gas supplies to Europe will open the "Southern Gas Corridor", which will allow Europe to diversify its sources of hydrocarbon supplies and boost energy security, and on the other hand give Azerbaijan a new market - Europe.
In order to ensure the gas supplies to the new market, a final investment decision was made Dec. 17, 2013 on the Stage 2 of development of the Shah Deniz field. Some 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of the field's total gas output will go to Europe, while 6 bcm will be annually delivered to Turkey.
The gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of the field's development, will be exported to Turkey and the European markets by means of expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
Azerbaijan, which has total gas reserves of about 3 trillion cubic meters, will be able to start gas deliveries to Europe with the help of the TAP.
TAP's initial capacity will be 10 bcm of gas per year, with a possibility of expanding up to 20 billion.
Prior to TAP, which is to take its beginning from the border of Turkey and Greece, Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to Turkey via TANAP.
And before the TANAP, the gas will be delivered via the existing 700-kilometer long South Caucasus Pipeline, the capacity of which will be expanded.
It should be stressed that after 20 years, the date of Sept.20 will be perpetuated once again, as the ceremony marking the start of the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion project, which in fact will mark the start of the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, will be held on that day.
The potential of the gas transport infrastructure that will be created under the Southern Gas Corridor project, will allow to transport additional volumes of gas to the European markets from other fields of Azerbaijan, as well as from the third countries.
This will contribute to strengthening of the export potential and the development of the transit potential of Azerbaijan.