“Azerbaijan is and will always remain a strategic partner for the European Union due to its contribution to the EU security.” The remarks were made by Gunther H. Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources at the closing ceremony of the Caspian Oil and Gas Conference. The Comissioner stressed that the SGC will link the EU and Azerbaijan more closely and it is a strong symbol of growing interdependence. According to him, Azerbaijan is the key member of the Eastern Partnership and an important example of successful economic transformation process.
“The first ceremony took place just two days ago. And also ceremony will follow on the 12th of June this year, to mark the first delivery of gas from Shahdeniz to Turkey via TANAP. I had the honor to participate in 2011, in the Southern Gas Corridor signature ceremony. Many doubted at that time that project of such dimension would ever go ahead. A pipeline stretching over 3, 500 km. SGC brings together multiple parties, governments, several countries-Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Albania, Italy, EU, local and international companies, banks, financial institutions. All doubts were wrong in the end,” he added.
Gunther H. Oettinger said that the EU stands ready to deepen the relationship with Azerbaijan further and beyond energy issues. Thus, it is ready to support Azerbaijan fully in its own economic diversification plans, connectivity issues, trade and all energy related matters. According to the commissioner, the new comprehensive framework agreement, that is being discussed between the parties will lay the foundation of even more solid cooperation.
“EU gas demand will continue to remain stable for the next decade and our resources are likely to decrease further and we need more and more inputs. This is our strategy to diversify routes and sources. So, Azerbaijan is our preferred partner therefore. EU is interested in seizing the SGC growing to full majority in time with additional gas coming from new Azeri fields, and also the involvement other has producing countries, that have not entered formally into the gas relations with the EU. For example, Turkmengas could be emerging in the short and medium- term as an additional for SGC,” Gunther H. Oettinger concluded.
In the end, Gunther H. Oettinger highlighted that the implementation of such projects will allow Azerbaijan to develop into a full-fledged transport and energy hub.