Ilham Aliyev: "Combining efforts of Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey to enable pursuing predictable policy in terms of development of energy resources and their transportation"
Today, a format of cooperation involving Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan has emerged on the world’s energy map, which has great prospects in both bilateral and trilateral terms, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, summing up the 2018 in the interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.
According to him, the three countries were moving towards that "for a long time, from different directions and at different speeds." "We began to implement our energy projects in the early 2000s - with the construction of oil and gas pipelines. In order to access global markets, we had to build the infrastructure. We do not have access to the world ocean. Russia took steps in this direction relatively recently. Although we do remember that the Blue Stream project was implemented many years ago. It has somewhat been forgotten now. But it is also about the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey through the bottom of the Black Sea. In other words, in principle, there is nothing new in what happened this year – the opening of the offshore phase of the Turkish Stream. The high-level political interaction between Russia and Turkey has provided the opportunity to implement or accelerate the implementation of this project. Therefore, as friends of Russia and Turkey, we have welcomed this project and attended the opening ceremony of this project at a high government level," the President of Azerbaijan said.
He recalled that the Southern Gas Corridor project was officially launched in May: "This is a project that combines four important independent projects. It is the development of the largest gas condensate field of Shah Deniz and the construction of three integrated gas pipeline systems. To date, three out of four segments of this project have already been implemented. The official opening of the Southern Gas Corridor in May was followed by the launch of the TANAP project in June. Thus, we will be transporting more gas to the Turkish and then to European markets. This is also a continuation of our policy, because back in 2007 we launched a gas pipeline from Baku to the Turkish city of Erzurum and currently export gas to the Turkish market. The Southern Gas Corridor will enable us to double gas exports to the Turkish market and to access the markets adjacent to Turkey and further Western Europe. This will give us the opportunity to realize our major gas potential and fetch billions of dollars to the treasury. This has already created tens of thousands of jobs and, of course, is creating a completely new energy map of Eurasia. The combination of the efforts of Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey in this direction will not only allow us the opportunity to fully implement our plans and secure our interests, but also enable us to pursue a predictable policy in terms of the development of our energy resources and their transportation."
Responding to a question about the struggle for energy influence and the pressure put on Russia, Ilham Aliyev noted: "We have never felt such pressure in terms of the development of our energy projects. I would even say the opposite, since Azerbaijani gas will, to a certain extent, ensure the energy security of European countries, we have felt the support of the European Union. Meetings of the Advisory Council on the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project are held in Baku every year. Since several EU member-countries are involved in this project, the European Union is always represented at meetings of the Advisory Council at a high level. We are implementing our energy projects because we need them,. Because we are a country rich in oil and gas reserves, we need to sell them and earn money. Therefore, we have attracted investor companies, so we attracted banks, we are building gas and oil pipelines. The Southern Gas Corridor alone costs about $40 billion. Most of this investment is borrowed capital. Therefore, of course, active cooperation with international financial institutions is an important factor in this project. Therefore, in this context, in terms of energy projects, we do not feel any obstacles."
At the same time, Ilham Aliyev noted that the significance and role of Azerbaijan not only in the energy market but also in general, in geopolitical terms, is growing. "The country is becoming more developed, has more plans to assert itself in the region. And in proportion to our development and to how we conduct independent policies, pressure on us is growing. But it is not connected with energy factors, it is connected with attempts to involve us in some adventures that are absolutely contraindicated for our people and our country. There are no potential risks and threats in Azerbaijan – physical, ideological, social or political. Whatever can undermine the peace of our citizens can be brought in from the outside. Therefore, we are very careful about issues related to our sovereignty. We are very sensitive to this, to issues related to our security, to the security of our citizens. Therefore, attempts to drag Azerbaijan into some kinds of international adventures have always suffered a fiasco. Some people may not like it, and we occasionally see these results. As a rule, this is manifested through the adoption of some resolutions by international organizations we are not even a member of, allegations of human rights violations. Moreover, it is strange when resolutions against us are adopted by organizations we are not a member of and are not going to join. This causes more and more smiles, so to speak. Also, of course, fake media stories are actively used. This is a favorite method of vilification, blackmail and attempts to exert pressure. But we have already developed an immunity against this. The people of Azerbaijan understand very well what is behind these attempts. The confident and steady development, safe development, stable development of Azerbaijan is the best answer to all those who want to harm us."