Dostlug field as unique format of co-op in Caspian - another successful strategy of President Ilham Aliyev
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 22
A historic event took place on January 21, which became another success of the strategy of President Ilham Aliyev - a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Governments of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on joint exploration, development, and study of the Dostlug oil and gas field.
The document was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov and Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov. The signing process was observed in the format of a videoconference by Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov.
The document signed by Baku and Ashgabat is of great regional and international importance. It demonstrated that there can be no insoluble problems between good neighbors and friends, and there is always an opportunity to come to an agreement. The document, setting economic tasks in its essence, in fact also has great political significance in terms of resolving issues between the Caspian countries. Dialogue can resolve any problem. Cooperation in such a strategic area as oil and gas production is the key to achieving mutual understanding on many other issues. The Dostlug memorandum can be called the first important step in the Caspian region after the signing in August 2018 in Aktau of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian.
During the Soviet era, the Dostlug field was called ‘Intermediate’, since it is located in the middle of the sea border separating the Azerbaijani and Turkmen waters of the sea. And although it was discovered by Azerbaijani oilmen, the border location made it impossible to develop deposits after the transformation of the union republics into independent states. The issue was discussed for many years, in 1998 an expert group was created for negotiations between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the coordinates of the median line.
Competent diplomacy of Baku and readiness for dialogue of the Turkmen side led to success. The parties have repeatedly exchanged high-level visits.
As President Ilham Aliyev reminded at an online meeting, over 50 documents were signed within the framework of the visits made over the past three years: “For comparison, let me note that more than 100 documents have been signed in the entire history of our relationship, half of which were signed in the last three years. The most gratifying thing is that they are all being implemented, including the agreements we have reached on cooperation in the energy sector. Today's signing ceremony opens a new page in the development of the Caspian's hydrocarbon resources. This project will contribute to the strengthening of the energy security of our countries, as well as our neighbors. This project opens up great export opportunities, thereby contributing to the growth of the well-being of our peoples,” the Azerbaijani leader said.
In turn, as the president of Turkmenistan stated, the signing of the Memorandum marks a fundamentally new stage in the energy cooperation between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea.
“New opportunities for joint work based on a solid international legal framework are opening up and additional serious incentives are emerging for the inflow of major foreign investments into our region on a systematic and long-term basis,” Berdymuhamedov said.
It’s symbolic that the Memorandum was signed in the year of the Summit of the Caspian states, which will be held at the initiative of Turkmenistan.
The joint development of an oil field by neighboring countries is an extraordinary event. Hydrocarbons are a source of income, wealth, and prestige, so each country, when gaining access to deposits, as a rule, tries to obtain benefits on its own, but Azerbaijan has shown that joint activity can be mutually beneficial when it is based on mutual understanding and friendly relations. It is no coincidence that the field was named Dostlug. Both sides will benefit greatly from cooperation. As for Azerbaijan, in addition to all other advantages, oil and gas from the field will be transported to Europe through modern infrastructure and export pipelines of our country, which will significantly increase its role as an exporter and transit country of energy resources.
The signing of the Memorandum on the Dostlug field is undoubtedly the success of the energy strategy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev.
The interaction of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan at the field with a very symbolic name ‘Dostlug’ (‘Friendship’) will greatly contribute to these processes. Thanks to the efforts of President Ilham Aliyev and the implementation of his oil and gas strategy, Azerbaijan is successfully setting and realizing seemingly impossible tasks. Today Baku and Ashgabat have laid the foundation for, without exaggeration, a fateful project which can grow into a new and promising format of cooperation in the Caspian region.