Ambassador Cekuta: U.S. has been supporting development of Azerbaijan's energy sector for over two decades - INTERVIEW
Q. Mr. Ambassador you have discussed at your last meeting with Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) to be held in Houston early May, noting that the event was an important platform for energy experts to exchange ideas in order to improve their scientific-technical knowledge on environmental issues. You also noted the importance of Azerbaijani SOCAR’s participation at the conference. How much interest does Azerbaijan have in this conference?
A. The OTC is one of the biggest, most important events for the world's oil and gas industry and as an important actor in the oil and gas sector, it’s important, I might even say essential that Azerbaijan be in Houston for it. The world's newest technologies are on display there. The world's major companies are there. Given the history, the scope, the innovations going on here in Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector, I’m glad Minister Aliyev and 10 Azerbaijani companies decided this year to attend OTC. I should also add that Houston and Baku are sister cities, which makes it all the more appropriate that an Azerbaijani delegation joined the nearly 60,000 people who are expected to attend OTC this year. Ambassador Suleymanov and his team at the Azerbaijan Embassy in Washington also worked with us to support the delegation.
In addition to the opportunity for Azerbaijani and American business people to meet and pursue new business agreements, the OTC is a great opportunity to update American and other business people and industry leaders on what is happening in Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector.
I was pleased and honored to share the stage at a number of events with Energy Minister Aliyev and representatives of leading international energy companies to talk about the sector, about the Southern Gas Corridor and its importance for Azerbaijan's development and prosperity, and how the United States and Azerbaijan have worked together over the last two decades to increase European and global energy security.
So, the bottom line is Azerbaijan's participation in this large event that pulls people in from all over the world is good for American and Azerbaijani businesses, good for reminding the global energy community of Azerbaijan's key role in the sector, and good for discussing the technical advances being made in the Azerbaijani, the U.S., and the global energy industries.
Q. After Donald Trump’s election as the U.S. President, some circles began to speculate that he was going to reconsider U.S. policy towards Europe. Azerbaijan, too, is interested in this issue as a key member country of the Southern Gas Corridor project. My question is, is there any change in the U.S. policy with regard to the Southern Gas Corridor project?
A. The United States has been supporting the development of Azerbaijan's energy sector for over two decades. This has been the policy of Presidents of both parties. I would also note the points Secretary Tillerson made to the February meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council here in Baku. He mentioned that Azerbaijan has played a key role in our shared strategic goal of diversifying regional energy supplies, increasing market competition, and strengthening European Energy security. Also, that the Southern Gas Corridor, which will provide new supplies of gas from the Caspian to the rest of Europe, is a critical project for European energy diversification. He noted too that the United States remains committed to the project, along with all the governments and companies involved in it, to ensure its completion.
Q. We talked about your meeting with the Energy Minister. Did the Minister inform you on the certain challenges surrounding the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project? To sum up, there are still some difficulties in connection with the implementation of the TAP project in Italy. The minister in his speech expressed his concern about possible effects these problems could have on the timely realization of the South Gas Corridor project. What are the causes of these problems? Could the U.S. make any contributions to the effort to resolve these problems?
A. This is a remarkable project. With a price tag of about $40 billion, the Southern Gas Corridor is one of the largest infrastructure projects underway in the world today. It is also one that is addressing some impressive technical challenges. Further, it is one where things in Azerbaijan, along the new pipeline across Georgia to Turkey, and in the construction of the new pipeline in Turkey across Anatolia are coming to completion. Work is also proceeding in Greece and Albania on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, or "TAP", and we’re seeing work being done now in Italy on TAP as well.
Q. Azerbaijan's President in one of his speeches noted that “some external forces are trying to delay the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.” To what extent do you think these forces may effect on this project?
A. It’s important that gas from the Caspian is able to reach Europe without external interference. Safe, secure sources of energy are key to a country's prosperity and security. As I noted earlier, the Southern Gas Corridor is progressing well with the expertise and support of all the companies and governments involved.
Related news releases
- 23.04.2018Minister: Azerbaijan’s joining OPEC is not on agenda
- 23.04.2018BP: Business in Azerbaijan is one of other significant ones in BP’s global portfolio
- 23.04.2018ACG produced 453 milion tonnes of oil and 144 bcm of gas so far
- 23.04.2018Minister: SGC opens opportunities for rich gas resources of region
- 20.04.2018Extractive Industries Transparency Commission holds meeting
- 19.04.2018SOFAZ revenues from ACG and Shahdeniz amount to $133 bln
- 19.04.201870 million barrels of Azerbaijani oil transported through Georgia
- 19.04.2018Georgia increases energy import from Azerbaijan
- 19.04.2018Azerbaijan increases export of oil and oil products to Georgia over 8%
- 19.04.2018Azerbaijan gets 3% rise in wind power production this year
- 19.04.2018Azerbaijan increases gas export to Georgia by nearly 6%
- 19.04.2018Oil near late-2014 highs as Saudi pushes for higher prices, U.S. crude stocks decline
- 18.04.2018Edison to buy gas from Shahdeniz
- 18.04.2018President: Azerbaijan has turned from energy importing country into energy exporting country
- 18.04.2018President: Shahdeniz 2, South Caucasus Pipeline and TANAP will be launched this year
- 18.04.2018$1.5B invested in non-oil sector in Q1
- 18.04.2018Russia, Iran can extend oil supplies agreement for 5 years
- 17.04.2018Azerbaijan increases oil production
- 17.04.2018Gas transportation via main pipelines increases by 7%
- 17.04.2018BTC transports more than 1.5 million tonnes of transit oil in three months
- 17.04.2018Azerbaijan increases gasoline and diesel production in Q1
- 17.04.2018Azerbaijan increases gold production by 5.1-fold
- 17.04.2018SOCAR Turkey Energy buys stake in TANAP
- 17.04.2018$5.6B invested in TANAP construction so far
- 17.04.2018Saltuk Duzyol: TANAP will be ready to give gas to TAP in June 2019
- 17.04.2018General Manager: TANAP can also transport Iraq’s gas in future
- 16.04.2018Anglo Asian Mining earns $1.3M from sale of gold
- 16.04.2018SOCAR increases diesel production due to high demand
- 12.04.2018Azerbaijan sees growth in revenues from crude oil export
- 12.04.2018Azerbaijan, Iran sign contract on sale and purchase of electric energy
- 12.04.2018Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector increases by 2.2-fold in 2004-2017
- 11.04.2018Georgian president speaks about SGC’s significance in Abu Dhabi
- 11.04.2018SOFAZ assets increases by $2b in Q1
- 11.04.2018SOCAR announces investment plans
- 10.04.2018Azerbaijan fulfils its obligation on output cut
- 06.04.2018SOCAR President: SGC to create significant common gas-main pipeline
- 06.04.2018PROKON on final straight at Construction of SOCAR Ammonia and Urea Plant
- 05.04.2018Azerbaijani president orders allocating funds for construction of 15 modular schools
- 03.04.2018Transportation of oil products through SOCAR’s Kulevi terminal in Georgia declines
- 02.04.2018Azerbaijani appointed as BP Vice President Australia
- 04.05.2017Azerenerji to attract AZN 360 to pay tax due
- 04.05.2017Azerenerji expects electricity and gas tariffs to remain flat
- 05.05.2017Brent crude oil price drops to 5-month low of $47 per barrel
- 03.05.2017Azerenergy gets 5% rise in production
- 03.05.2017Azerbaijan sees 3% decline in premiums from compulsory vehicle insurance
- 03.05.2017Baku to host international power and alternative energy exhibition