Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said his country is about to conclude negotiations about the transit of natural gas with neighboring Turkey, terming his country a “gas-rich country.”
Aliyev delivered his speech at the 18th International Caspian Oil and Gas Expo in Baku on Tuesday, where Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy Ambassador Richard Morningstar, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon, Georgian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alexander Khetaguri and Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Hulusi Kılıç, along with other ambassadors, were present.
Stressing the importance of the “Deal of the Century” that was signed in 1994 — a groundbreaking deal that catapulted Azerbaijan’s oil industry, Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of the expo that the agreement has brought foreign investment into the country.
Recalling that Azerbaijan’s oil is being exported through three different ways, Aliyev said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline has contributed much to the booming economy.
Oil prices have risen by a third since the beginning of the year, buoyed by unrest in North Africa and the Middle East which unseated the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders.
For the government of Azerbaijan, which pumps about a million barrels of oil a day, the price increase means more than $4 billion in extra oil money for the state budget.
Aliyev also noted that he believes in the possibility of the realization of the “Southern Corridor” pipeline project, adding that Turkey and Azerbaijan are currently in the final stages of transit gas negotiations and that the transit gas deal is envisaged to be signed with Turkey “soon.”
Morningstar said while testifying before the US Congress last week that three pipeline consortiums are competing to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field to Europe, and the investment decisions to make that possible should be made by the end of this year.
Aliyev also said Azerbaijan was known as an oil-rich country but added that newly found gas reserves have made Azerbaijan famous for its gas reserves, adding that Azerbaijani gas could be sufficient for both Azerbaijan and other countries.
A total of 285 companies from 27 countries participated in the fair. Five companies from Turkey were at the exhibition.