Azerbaijan shifting priorities, steps away from oil, gas sector
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 19
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Pursuing the policy of developing the non-oil sector in order to ensure economic growth of the country, as well as the recent reduction of energy exports income due to the prolonged oil prices fall on the world market result in the fact that Azerbaijan is increasingly focusing on the implementation of major projects not related to the oil and gas sector.
Particular attention is paid to infrastructure projects, which are beneficial from both economic and social point of view.
In particular, work on the North-South transport corridor, which aims to link the railways of Iran with the railways of Russia via Azerbaijan, has recently intensified.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also emphasized this fact, speaking at the meeting of the CIS Heads of State Council.
The North-South project remained in limbo for a long time because the parties couldn't resolve the issues associated with financing. However, this overriding question for the project has been solved: Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to finance the construction of Astara (Iran) - Astara (Azerbaijan) rail line and to connect the railways of the two countries. This gives hope for implementation of the project in the near future.
A large number of neighboring countries, such as Pakistan, India, Oman, has already shown interest in the project.
This proves that the North-South project will become a kind of bridge that will link not only Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, but also large markets of the Persian Gulf region, India and China with Russian and European markets and will allow to significantly reduce the time and volume of cargo transportation.
Given that the volume of cargo transportation via railways is more than that of sea and air transport, in fact, the North-South corridor becomes as significant as the Panama and Suez canals and other most important transport hubs of the world.
Moreover, it is worth to mention the East-West corridor, which is also gaining strength, and implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) project.
Azerbaijan has already received the first container train from China through Kazakhstan, which overcame this distance in record time. Furthermore, test trains have been launched on BTK sections.
Successful implementation of large regional and global projects is not new for Azerbaijan.
Suffice it to mention the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline through which Azerbaijani oil started to be directly delivered to the Mediterranean coast, as well as the Southern Gas Corridor project that will deliver Azerbaijani gas to South Europe.
By implementing such projects, Azerbaijan becomes an important hub which literally links all four sides of the world.