US analyst Robert Cutler: “Azerbaijan has been transforming itself from an international energy – INTERVIEW

US analyst Robert Cutler: “Azerbaijan has been transforming itself from an international energy – <font color=red>  INTERVIEW </font>
# 17 January 2011 07:56 (UTC +04:00)
- What is your assessment of Azerbaijan’s current energy policy in the Caspian region?

- Azerbaijan has been transforming itself from an international energy "agenda-taker" into an "agenda-maker". Even if Azerbaijan still depends to some extent on the international energy companies and foreign states, still it has succeeded that those companies and states are now also depending reciprocally upon Azerbaijan, which thereby achieves some relative autonomy from those influences. Azerbaijan’s key geographic situation and important energy reserves guarantees it great potential, not only as a resource-holder but also as a transit country, for irreplaceable contribution to global energy security.

- Just recently European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had been in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to discuss Nabucco gas pipeline project and other energy issues. How would you value the results of the visit?

- Nabucco’s prospects improve from week to week. The consortium is preparing the final investment decision. Barroso’s agreement with President Aliyev in Baku adds little to what is already accomplished beforehand, but it is an important symbol at a time when such symbols do not hurt. That he is traveling with Oettinger is also symbolically significant because it suggests that the EU it is ready to devote the high-profile attention necessary to insure bureaucratic focus on the matter.

- And what is your assessment of Azerbaijan-Iran and Azerbaijan-Russian energy cooperation?

- Azerbaijan naturally has concerns about gas provision to Nakhichevan, which is an important element in the Iranian relations. However, the political and legal structure of Iran, embodied also in the state economic doctrine expressed through its constitution, continues to be hostile to the establishment of a rational framework for business-like and trust-worthy relations of mutual benefit.
It should not harm energy cooperation with the West. Would the West decline energy cooperation with Azerbaijan for this reason? The actual events answer this question is in the negative.