Opening ceremony of Southern Gas Corridor starts in Baku
The official opening ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor project at Sangachal terminal is being held in Baku. The project implies the supply of Azerbaijan’s gas to Europe.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is taking part in the event. Marking this day as historic, he stressed that opening the Southern Gas Corridor was a significant step taken timely.
"Azerbaijan’s successful oil and gas policy shows that the Azerbaijani people are able to use their natural resources only in conditions of independence," the head of state explained.
Ilham Aliyev recalled that the history of oil in the world started from Azerbaijan. In 1846, for the first time ever, oil was extracted through an industrial method in Baku.
"The monument in honor of this historic event was erected several years ago in the center of our city. Azerbaijan ensured most of the world's oil production during that period in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. However, the people were poor. Azerbaijan was just a source of resource. Azerbaijan’s oil did not serve our people. Absheron peninsula had faced an ecological disaster," the head of state said.
"But in the period of independence, the people can use their resources. Today, we are implementing such large projects with our partners and recompiling Europe’s energy map," Ilham Aliyev said.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo stressed that it's an honor for him to be at the Sangachal terminal on the Caspian Sea to not only witness the opening ceremony of the 25th Centenary Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference, but also opening of the Southern Gas Corridor project.
Barkindo said that Shah Deniz is a clear evidence of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visionary leadership. "This project envisages a huge multi-billion dollar capital investment and is one of the largest energy projects in the world. This is a significant added value to Azerbaijan’s economy," OPEC Secretary General noted.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a letter sent to the opening ceremony, read out by Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ercan Ozoral, that TANAP is a historic project, our cooperation played a great role in completion of this project.
Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum Yury Sentyurin recalled that Azerbaijan has obtained the status of the international gas hub thanks to the wise and rational policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev.
"Natural gas will play a key role in meeting our future energy needs. The Southern Gas Corridor, as one of the largest gas projects in the world, is aimed at ensuring gas supplies from the Caspian Sea to Europe. It involves extensive cooperation between the public and private sector, and today, 7 states and 11 independent companies are working together to complete this major project. The Southern Gas Corridor is designed to change the energy map of the entire region, delivering Caspian gas directly to European markets for the first time in history," he explained.
Sentyurin noted that, the EU needs further diversification of import opportunities to meet its future demands for energy. "The financial and political commitment of Azerbaijan to the implementation of the project emphasizes the important role that the country plays and will continue to play in the direction of ensuring energy sustainability," the Secretary General said.
Energy expert Rovshan Ibragimov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Azerbaijan is opening a new page in its history. "Today, one of the parts of the Southern Gas Corridor has been launched, which has a continuation in Turkey (TAP, TANAP) and in Southern and Eastern Europe (TAP, TANAP). The commissioning of this pipeline will allow the export of large volumes of natural gas to the markets of Turkey, which will happen on June 12, the markets of Bulgaria, Greece, Italy after 2020, and, possibly, the market of Albania. Thus, in addition to the status of the oil exporter, Azerbaijan also becomes a major gas supplier. Even if over time, oil production will be reduced, it will be offset by gas," he said.
"Thus, Azerbaijan is becoming an even more active participant in ensuring the energy security of the countries along the Southern Gas Corridor and an important hydrocarbon exporter in the European region. In time, Azerbaijan may turn into a hub for delivering gas to European consumers, first of all, from Turkmenistan. Azerbaijan is also one of the sources of diversification of natural gas supplies to European countries, which further increases its macro-regional importance," Rovshan Ibrahimov stressed.
Head of the 'Caspian Barrel' Center for Oil Research Ilham Shaban, in turn, called the day the day of the discovery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe. "Of course, gas export from Azerbaijan started in 2007, but all these years we had only limited opportunities to supply gas to regional markets in Georgia and Turkey, but now our country will be able to export gas to large consumers on the European market for many decades. This will ensure the transition from the traditional status of the oil exporter to the status of a gas power," he explained.
"In fact, Azerbaijan's current smooth connection to the European markets is the opening of confirmed reserves of 2.6 trillion cubic meters of gas to foreign consumers. By opening the Southern Gas Corridor, we are strengthening the soil of the European and global market for us, attracting further investments for our development and ensuring long-term revenues of the republic," Shahban concluded.