Implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project will allow Azerbaijan to bring both gas from the Shah Deniz field and the Azerbaijani gas to be produced on other fields, to the world market, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.
The president added that it will allow for the country to fully implement both oil and gas plans.
He made the remarks speaking at the opening of the 23rd International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference and the 6th Caspian International Power and Alternative Energy Exhibition. The events kicked off in Baku on June 1.
The president stressed that currently the Shah Deniz is one of the largest gas fields in the world.
Gas produced at the Shah Deniz field is intended for regional markets, he added.
Of course, speaking about the Southern Gas Corridor project, it’s necessary to note the work done in the 1990s, said the president.
That’s because if the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline hadn’t been built at that time, of course, this corridor wouldn’t have been created, either, he said.
The president added that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline connected the Caspian and Mediterranean seas and formed an energy corridor.
Now Azerbaijani gas will be brought to world markets through this corridor, he said. The president went on to add that one can say that the routes of these corridors are the same to a large extent, and this corridor is currently being transformed into a transport corridor.
By allocating oil revenues to transport infrastructure, Azerbaijan got very important transportation hubs, and the East-West Transport Corridor project is currently being implemented, Ilham Aliyev said.
He expressed confidence that this corridor will be fully commissioned before late 2016, and thus, oil, gas and transport corridors will pass through Azerbaijan. The president noted that Azerbaijan has taken necessary steps regarding the export of electricity, and currently the country exports it as well.
Azerbaijan’s geographical location, investments made and thought-out policy, joint activity with partners created this reality, which serves both the Azerbaijani state, its people and ensures interests of neighboring countries, and, on a broader scale, strengthens international cooperation, said the president.
Of course Azerbaijan cannot implement any project without international cooperation, because it doesn’t have access to open seas and world markets, said the president.
That’s why large funds are allocated namely for construction of oil and gas pipelines, said the president of Azerbaijan.
“We were also initiators of international cooperation, which is natural, because that’s what we need,” Ilham Aliyev said. “We needed oil and gas pipelines to be built in order for these resources to enter the world market.”
Transit countries, producing countries also show great interest, said the president, adding that they surely benefit from these projects. Decades later, the transit countries will get big profits, Ilham Aliyev added.
He noted that the consumer countries will have access to additional, alternative sources of gas, which means that all parties only win in this case. The president said that first of all, Azerbaijan had to put up its efforts and did so to form this international cooperation.
If in the mid 1990s it was a trilateral format of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, currently this format is expanding and different structures represent member countries of the Southern Gas Corridor project, Ilham Aliyev said. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the European Union member states – Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Albania – altogether seven countries are members of the Southern Gas Corridor project, he added.
The president reminded that the Balkan states also show interest in the project.
“Memoranda have already been signed with some Balkan countries so that we would open branches of the Southern Gas Corridor project in the future,” said Ilham Aliyev, stressing that currently the main line is the one stretching from Baku to the shores of Italy.
“But there must be branches that extend from this line as well, and we are working on these issues,” said the president.
Saying that Azerbaijan has enough gas resources, the president added that proven gas reserves in the country amount to 2.6 trillion cubic meters.
The president underscored that currently, preparatory work is underway in connection with the development of the Absheron and Umid fields.
“I am confident that these projects will be successful as well, and thus, gas production of Azerbaijan will increase even more,” he said, adding that deep layers of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field contain large reserves of gas.
“We are taking major steps to extract these reserves of gas,” he said. “I’d like to say that we don’t want to limit our activities with the existing format of the Southern Gas Corridor project.”
“We want to widen our activities,” the country’s president noted, adding that in order to achieve this, there are gas resources and a format of international cooperation has been established.
President Aliyev further said that already for the second time Baku hosted the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Meeting, in February of 2016, and all the member states were represented at a high level.
Two vice presidents of the European Commission, high-ranking representatives of the U.S. and UK took part and signed the final declaration, said President Aliyev, adding that Azerbaijan’s leading role in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project was mentioned in the declaration.
“Of course, it is a great honor and at the same time, a great responsibility for us,” said the president. “The creation of the Advisory Council was namely our initiative and I am glad that the European Commission supported this initiative.”
“Thus, we are working in a very serious coordination format and I am glad that we are achieving all the goals,” added Ilham Aliyev.
“I remember that when taking part in this exhibition last year, I noted that the foundation of the TANAP project was laid in 2015 and today, I would like to say with a sense of satisfaction that the foundation of TAP project was laid last month, two weeks ago,” said the president.
“That is, we are moving forward to consistently reach our goals and are achieving all the goals,” he added.
The president noted that the overview of the chronology of the work done shows that in order to achieve its goals, Azerbaijan is moving with a high consistency, in a purposeful and planned manner.
“The signing of the Contract of the Century in 1994, contract on the Shah Deniz project in 1996, production of the first oil at Chirag field in 1997, construction of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline in 1999 connected us with the Black Sea ports,” said President Aliyev.
Further, the president recalled the groundbreaking ceremony for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in 2003, commissioning of the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku- Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines in 2006-2007, signing of an agreement on TANAP project between Turkey and Azerbaijan in 2012, the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Southern Gas Corridor and TANAP in 2014 and 2015, respectively and finally the groundbreaking ceremony for TAP in 2016.
“Here is the chronology. That is, the current situation did not emerge by itself,” he added.
“The success achieved to date, doesn’t drop from the sky. It became possible as a result of hard and purposeful work and I reiterate that we managed to achieve this success only within international cooperation,” said President Aliyev.
The president said the situation is that the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project is on schedule and currently, it is the main task in the energy sphere.
“I am confident that this process will go on schedule. Work is underway on all four segments of the Southern Gas Corridor: Shah Deniz, South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP,” said President Aliyev. “I am confident that they will be implemented on time.”
The Southern Gas Corridor is an economic project, said the president, adding that meanwhile, it is a project of security.