Baku, Azerbaijan, May 28
The phrase "energy security" has recently become just as significant as political, military or any other traditional challenges that countries are facing. The main role in the energy security of Europe is attached to such suppliers and transit countries as Azerbaijan and Turkey. However, no matter how paradoxical it may sound, today Europe's energy security depends on Europe itself and no one else.
As Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has recently said that all efforts are directed to timely and perhaps, ahead of schedule, ensure the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline, connecting us with Georgia, and the construction of the Trans-Anatolian project (TANAP).
The president said the goals will be achieved on time, and maybe even earlier. He also expressed hope that there will be no artificial obstacles to the Trans Adriatic project (TAP) because if such obstacles appear, of course, no one wins in this case.
Today Azerbaijan, its partners on Shah Deniz (the main source of gas supplies to Europe at this stage) and Turkey are also successfully implementing a large part of the Southern Gas Corridor project. The contracts worth more than $10 billion have been signed as part of the Shah Deniz alone. The capacity of the South Caucasus gas pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum) is being expanded. TANAP is being built ahead of schedule.
The only "artificial obstacles", stressed by the president of Azerbaijan, occur in Europe.
The paradox is that European countries, which are trying to reduce dependence on Russian gas, create problems in the implementation of the European Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project themselves. It wasn't so when Europe was persuading Azerbaijan to supply gas, it wasn't so, when the partners on Shah Deniz chose the supply route.
The EU representatives, European countries, the companies participating in the gas pipeline project were frequently visiting Baku. However, today, inspired by Russia's statements, some countries participating in TAP project started to put forward certain conditions, to be more precisely, started plain blackmailing.
Nevertheless, Europe forgets that Azerbaijan has been implementing its energy strategy for many years. Baku never acts without being sure by 100 percent, or without having a back-up plan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's remarks also prove that if there are any emerging problems in TAP, Azerbaijan will mainly export its gas to the Turkish market.
Azerbaijani president said there is no concern about markets.
It means that Europe needs Azerbaijan and its gas more than Azerbaijan needs Europe. Shah Deniz, the South Caucasus Pipeline and TANAP are self-sustaining projects that will allow Azerbaijan to sell its gas to Turkey and bring it to the border with Europe.
It has long been known that Brussels has no option for diversification other than the Southern Gas Corridor. After the statements about the possibility of connecting Turkmen, Iraqi and Iranian gas to this project, it is impossible to overestimate its significance. This is where a question arises: why should the EU play with what is inevitable?
Edited by SI
Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service