Azerbaijani President: “Our country is demonstrating how oil and gas serve the people’s welfare”

Azerbaijani President: “Our country is demonstrating how oil and gas serve the people’s welfare”
# 17 December 2013 11:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku. Victoria Dementyeva – APA. “Today's signing ceremony is a historic day in the modern history of Azerbaijan. Shah Deniz is one of the world's largest energy projects. This is a historical project connected with the energy security, energy diversification, broad international cooperation among the countries and companies involved in the project,” said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev addressing the signing ceremony of the final investment agreement on the second phase of Shah Deniz project, APA reports.

The Head of State recalled the 90’s when Azerbaijan's energy strategy was formed. He noted that 3 years after having gained independence and 4 months after having signed the cease-fire agreement with Armenia, Azerbaijan signed Contract of the Century that attracted foreign investment in the Caspian Sea for the first time and contributed to developing the country: “It was called the contract of the 20th century and Shah Deniz agreement will be likely called the contract of the 21st century. Today's signing ceremony is a milestone in the history of the development of Azerbaijan's energy.”

Ilham Aliyev said that Memorandum of Understanding on strategic cooperation signed between Azerbaijan and the European Union contributed to developing the country's energy strategy and diversification of gas supplies to Europe: “Azerbaijan and Turkey signed agreement on TANAP project in 2012 and TAP was selected as a key project for the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe in 2013. We are starting a huge project that requires concerted efforts.”

The President thanked SOCAR and BP: “They have 20-year history of cooperation. The document signed today will allow continuing the strategic partnership at least for 40 years or even more. Energy resources have created opportunities for transformation and diversification of economy. Before the independence, GDP growth was zero in the private sector, but at present, 85 per cent of our economy accounts for the private sector. Unemployment dropped to 4.8 per cent, poverty to 5.5 per cent. Our foreign debt is only 8 per cent of GDP. Financial situation in the country is stable and we are actively investing in the non-oil sector.”

Ilham Aliyev stressed close cooperation of Azerbaijan with the international institutions: “Diversification and transparency are key elements of successful cooperation. I think that we were able to get rid of “oil curse.” Our country is demonstrating how oil and gas serve the people’s welfare.”

Expressing his confidence in the close cooperation of Azerbaijan with Georgia, Turkey, Albania, Italy and Bulgaria involved in the project, the President said that an active cooperation will be started with Montenegro and Croatia in the next stage: “It is planned to lengthen the pipeline to the Balkans.”

President Aliyev also underlined the importance of energy security both for supplier and consumer countries: “I’m confident that we will be able to find an acceptable balance among producers, transit countries and consumers and build a productive cooperation. Our energy strategy is based on friendship and mutual support. Azerbaijan has never used its energy potential for other purposes.”

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