"No, frankly speaking I can tell you that never with President Putin we discussed this issue. Though we meet regularly several times a year and we are permanent on the telephone conversation, but never he raised this issue, because I think this issue of competition is largely exaggerated," said President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with the Spanish El Pais newspaper, while responding to the question "Was the new gas corridor, the TAP project which you implemented last year, mentioned in your talks with Mr. Putin? Is this a concern for Mr. Putin, because it is an alternative to Russian gas?", APA reports.
"Our gas supply can by no way compete with Russian gas supply. Russian export to Europe is hundreds of billions of cubic meters and is growing. Our export to Europe, as I said already, is not a competition and we never looked at it as a competition. For us, this project was commercial, a project of commerciality. Because now when all the infrastructure pipeline works have conditions. The internal rate of return of Shah Deniz Gas deposit which is the main source of gas supply of our gas supply to Europe and other countries. The internal rate of return increases. So it became a very attractive from commercial point of view. So, we had huge deposits of gas, we needed to have a market.
What could be a market for us? It cannot be Russia, because Russia itself is exporting. It cannot be a big market in Georgia, because Georgia’s demand is relatively small. It can be Turkey, further down, Europe. That’s what we have done. Supplies to Turkey started in 2006 and was growing steadily and supplies to Europe started. For us it’s commercial. It was politicized unfortunately to a large degree without any grounds. The Russian Federation's leadership clearly understands the real substance of the story. Our gas is nowhere alternative, it’s just additional supply which is demanded, which is needed for consumers. For instance, now our gas makes about 20 percent of Turkish demand close to 90 percent of Georgia's demand. By the time we increase the supply to EU will also make substantial part if in EU some member states demand," noted the President.