Pres­i­dent Aliyev: Open­ing of South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor is timely and wise step

Azer News - - Front Page - By Kamila Aliyeva

Mark­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor to­day, on this his­toric day, we see how timely and wise this step is, Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev said.

He made the re­marks at the of­fi­cial in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony of the first phase of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project, which im­plies the sup­ply of Azer­bai­jani gas to Europe, in the San­gachal ter­mi­nal in Baku on May 29.

“Azerbaijan’s suc­cess­ful oil and gas pol­icy shows that the Azer­bai­jani peo­ple are able to use their nat­u­ral re­sources only in con­di­tions of in­de­pen­dence. The oil his­tory in the world orig­i­nates from Azerbaijan. In 1846, for the first time ever, oil was ex­tracted through an in­dus­trial method in Azerbaijan, in Baku,” he said.

The head of state re­called that the mon­u­ment in honor of this his­toric event was erected sev­eral years ago in the cen­ter of our city.

“Azerbaijan en­sured most of the world's oil pro­duc­tion dur­ing that pe­riod in the sec­ond half of the 19th cen­tury and the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury. But could Azer­bai­jani peo­ple ben­e­fit from this? Of course not. It's enough to look at the pic­tures and sta­tis­tics of that time, to see that peo­ple lived in poverty. There was no in­dus­trial devel­op­ment what­so­ever. Azerbaijan was only a re­source, and the "black gold" ex­tracted from the coun­try's depths didn't serve the devel­op­ment of the Azer­bai­jani peo­ple. Our oil re­sources were get­ting drained. The oil rev­enues were not di­rected to­wards wel­fare of Azer­bai­jani peo­ple,” he said.

At the same time, we faced big en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems in the Ab­sheron penin­sula, Pres­i­dent Aliyev noted.

“To­day, th­ese prob­lems are be­ing solved by in­de­pen­dent Azerbaijan. To­day, in­de­pen­dent Azerbaijan and our suc­cess­ful oil and gas pol­icy show that only in con­di­tions of in­de­pen­dence, dur­ing the pe­riod of in­de­pen­dence, Azer­bai­jani peo­ple can use their nat­u­ral re­sources. Azerbaijan can suc­cess­fully de­velop only in con­di­tions of in­de­pen­dence,” he added.

“To­day, as an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, we stand firmly, and suc­cess­fully ful­fill all the tasks set be­fore the coun­try. Such gi­ant projects we re­al­ize to­gether with our part­ners, and re-cre­ate the en­ergy map of Europe,” said the pres­i­dent.

Il­ham Aliyev re­minded that the term of “The Con­tract of the Cen­tury”, signed 24 years ago, was ex­tended in 2017 un­til 2050.

“This proves that there are big oil re­serves in this field. “The Con­tract of the Cen­tury” breathed life into Azerbaijan, and served the coun­try's re­vival. For the first time, the Caspian Sea opened up and be­came avail­able to for­eign com­pa­nies,” said Pres­i­dent Aliyev.

He went on to note that to­day, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of “The Con­tract of the Cen­tury” goes on very well, and af­ter the sign­ing of this con­tract, Azerbaijan's new oil strat­egy be­gan to take shape.

“I re­mem­ber those his­tor­i­cal days very well, be­cause as vice-pres­i­dent of the State Oil Com­pany I was di­rectly in­volved in this work. At the time, Azerbaijan's oil strat­egy was es­tab­lished, and to­day we see the results of this strat­egy and the car­ried out work. Af­ter 1994, the sec­ond big con­tract on Shah Deniz gas field was signed. I must note that this con­tract was signed in early June 1996, ex­actly on the open­ing day of the Caspian Oil and Gas ex­hi­bi­tion. Thus, Azerbaijan pre­sented it­self to the world not just as an oil, but as a gas coun­try as well,” Il­ham Aliyev noted.

“I also re­mem­ber well that dur­ing that pe­riod the gas fac­tor did not play such a sig­nif­i­cant role in en­ergy se­cu­rity in the world. Even the devel­op­ment of gas fields didn't get much of in­ter­est, be­cause com­pared to oil fields, the rev­enues were lower. Thus, at­tract­ing in­vestors to this project wasn't so easy,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Aliyev went on to say that in 1997 as a re­sult of "The Con­tract of the Cen­tury" first oil was ex­tracted from the Chi­rag plat­form.

“It was re­ally a his­toric day. For the first time, for­eign com­pa­nies ex­tracted oil from a new field in the Caspian Sea. To­day, mark­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor, we see how timely and wise this step is. The Shah Deniz gas field is the main re­source base of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor,” he said.

Il­ham Aliyev added that Azerbaijan is a coun­try with no ac­cess to the high seas.

“There­fore, oil pipe­lines must have been built, and the first oil pipeline, Baku-Supsa, was com­mis­sioned in 1999,” he said. “It shows that in a short time we car­ried out this amount of work, and this also re­quires big fi­nan­cial re­sources, th­ese projects are also very dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment in tech­ni­cal terms," he said.

"I must say that we didn’t have a lot of money in 1999. The Baku-Tbilisi-Cey­han oil pipeline was com­mis­sioned af­ter this. So, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of th­ese projects re­ally re­quired great ef­forts and great wis­dom. With the launch of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, for the first time in his­tory, we linked the Caspian and the Black seas by an oil pipeline. Af­ter this, in 2002, ex­pect­ing big vol­umes of oil from the Az­er­iChi­rag field, we laid the foun­da­tion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Cey­han oil pipeline ex­actly here, on the ter­ri­tory of the San­gachal ter­mi­nal. It was com­mis­sioned in 2006 and serves the Azer­bai­jani peo­ple and all the friendly coun­tries.”

The Azer­bai­jani pres­i­dent added that presently, not only Azer­bai­jani oil, but also oil from other coun­tries is trans­ported via the Baku-Tbil­isiCey­han oil pipeline.

“Oil pro­duced on the Caspian Sea by other coun­tries, oil pro­duced on the east­ern shores of the Caspian Sea is al­ready sup­plied through this pipeline to global mar­kets, and Azerbaijan demon­strates its ca­pa­bil­i­ties to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries at the same time as a re­li­able tran­sit coun­try,” Il­ham Aliyev said.

“The Baku-Tbilisi-Erzu­rum gas pipeline was com­mis­sioned in 2007. This is also a very im­por­tant project, and the devel­op­ment of the Shah Deniz field would have been im­pos­si­ble with­out this project. Thus, for the first time, in 2007, Azer­bai­jani gas started to be trans­ported to Ge­or­gia and Turkey. I also re­mem­ber that day very well, I re­mem­ber the cer­e­mony in Cey­han very well. When I was head­ing here to­day, all th­ese his­toric mo­ments, those days re­vived in my mem­ory, and I would like to say once again that all th­ese are truly his­toric achieve­ments,” Pres­i­dent Aliyev said.

He went on to say that Azerbaijan then started tak­ing steps re­gard­ing fu­ture devel­op­ment of the Shah Deniz field.

“Of course, we all knew that a gas pipeline was needed to bring large vol­umes of Azer­bai­jani gas to global mar­kets, and thus, prac­ti­cal work was launched to cre­ate the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor. A very se­ri­ous work was car­ried out and ne­go­ti­a­tions were held. Fi­nally, in 2012, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an agree­ment on the Trans-Ana­to­lian Nat­u­ral Gas Pipeline - TANAP, and thus a pow­er­ful im­pe­tus was given to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor,” the Pres­i­dent said.

U.S. Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State in the Bureau of En­ergy Re­sources San­dra Oud­kirk, UK Prime Min­is­ter's Trade En­voy to Azerbaijan Baroness Emma Ni­chol­son, Am­bas­sador Erkan Ozo­ral, OPEC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Gas Ex­port­ing Coun­tries Fo­rum Yury Sen­tyurin, and BP Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Up­stream Bernard Looney also at­tended the open­ing cer­e­mony and made speeches there.

The U.S. has strongly sup­ported the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project, from the very be­gin­ning of its im­ple­men­ta­tion, re­al­iz­ing the key role of this cor­ri­dor in di­ver­si­fy­ing the routes of en­ergy sup­plies to Europe, San­dra Oud­kirk said.

“I con­grat­u­late Pres­i­dent of Azerbaijan Il­ham Aliyev and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all coun­tries and com­pa­nies that are work­ing hard in the frame­work of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor Project,” she said.

Oud­kirk then stressed that the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor pro­vides new op­por­tu­ni­ties for more ex­ten­sive economic in­te­gra­tion of the coun­tries of the Caspian re­gion.

“U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has re­peat­edly stated his sup­port for this project. In his re­cent let­ter ad­dressed to the Pres­i­dent of Azerbaijan 100th an­niver­sary of the Azer­bai­jani Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic, he also stressed that the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor is an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment that will en­sure the en­ergy se­cu­rity of Europe,” she said.

Oud­kirk also noted that the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand devel­op­ment and co­op­er­a­tion for the coun­tries of the re­gion, as well as to in­crease the vol­umes of gas sup­plied from the East­ern Mediter­ranean, Cen­tral Asia and the Cau­ca­sus to Europe.

“The U.S. plans to con­tinue co­op­er­a­tion with all par­tic­i­pants of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor, which serve as sources of long-term suc­cess for this project,” she added.

The oil and gas in­dus­try re­mains the cor­ner­stone of UK’s com­mer­cial re­la­tions with Azerbaijan, the UK Prime Min­is­ter's Trade En­voy to Azerbaijan, Turk­menistan and Kaza­khstan Baroness Emma Ni­chol­son said at the com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mony.

“This year marks the com­ple­tion of an­other mile­stone of en­ergy col­lab­o­ra­tion. The first gas from BP's Shah Deniz-2 plat­form will flow through the South­ern Gas cor­ri­dor network of pipe­lines into Turkey. This is a ma­jor step for­ward to­wards re­al­iz­ing the vi­sion of de­liv­ery of great en­ergy se­cu­rity to Europe. And to­gether we have cre­ated suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship in the solid foun­da­tion for the fu­ture,” she said.

“I am priv­i­leged to hav­ing been present when BP and SOCAR signed the lat­est agree­ment in Lon­don,” Ni­chol­son said.

She went on to say that the deep­en­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion can only bring economic ben­e­fits for both coun­tries and beyond.

“That's a clear il­lus­tra­tion of the im­por­tance the UK at­taches for grow­ing bi­lat­eral and com­mer­cial part­ner­ship,” she added.

Read­ing out the ad­dress of the Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to the par­tic­i­pants of the event, she said that there are strong and pro­duc­tive re­la­tions that ex­tend far beyond the en­ergy sphere be­tween Great Bri­tain and Azerbaijan.

“To­gether we ob­served the sign­ing of six pro­duc­tion shar­ing agree­ments be­tween BP and SOCAR, which is ev­i­dence of the in­cred­i­ble part­ner­ship es­tab­lished be­tween the two com­pa­nies in the last quar­ter of a cen­tury. In gen­eral, Great Bri­tain and Azerbaijan have built strong and pro­duc­tive bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, which ex­tend far beyond en­ergy, cov­er­ing many other spheres. I look for­ward to strength­en­ing th­ese re­la­tion­ships in the fu­ture,” said May.

Then, Turk­ish Am­bas­sador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozo­ral read out the mes­sage of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan to the par­tic­i­pants of the event.

Com­ple­tion of the con­struc­tion of the Trans-Ana­to­lian pipeline (TANAP), through which gas will be de­liv­ered to Turkey and then to Europe, is a very im­por­tant and sig­nif­i­cant event, Er­do­gan stressed.

“Dear Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev and the par­tic­i­pants of the cer­e­mony, af­ter the im­ple­men­ta­tion of such projects as Baku-Tbilisi-Cey­han, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzu­rum, and the BakuT­bil­isi-Kars trans­port cor­ri­dor, the TANAP gas pipeline can be con­sid­ered a project that will change the fu­ture of the re­gion. TANAP is a good ex­am­ple of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion,” the mes­sage said.

In his ad­dress, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent also noted that to­day, af­ter the first gas is launched into the TANAP sys­tem, it will reach Eskise­hir on June 12, when the in­au­gu­ra­tion of TANAP, the Turk­ish part of the project, will take place.

Er­do­gan also noted that it would be an honor for Turkey to or­ga­nize the open­ing cer­e­mony of the TANAP pipeline in Turkey.

Ad­dress­ing the event, OPEC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Mohammad Barkindo noted that the project for devel­op­ment of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas and con­den­sate field is a project which in­deed the world should be proud of.

“It is a great honor and true plea­sure for me to be here at the San­gachal ter­mi­nal on the Caspian Sea to not only wit­ness the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 25th Cen­te­nary Caspian Oil and Gas Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­fer­ence, but also open­ing of this mag­nif­i­cent global un­der­tak­ing, the Shah Deniz project,” Barkindo said.

He went on to say that Shah Deniz is a clear ev­i­dence of Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev’s vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship, mo­ti­va­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion.

This project en­vis­ages a huge multi-bil­lion dol­lar cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and is one of the largest en­ergy projects in the world, Barkindo noted.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant added value to Azerbaijan’s econ­omy. It is also a tes­ti­mony to good part­ner­ship on the Shah Deniz project op­er­ated by BP and in­clud­ing many oil and gas com­pa­nies from sev­eral coun­tries,” he said.

Barkindo fur­ther noted that Azerbaijan is one of the con­sis­tently high­est per­form­ing coun­tries in OPEC deal to curb oil out­put.

He pointed out that Azerbaijan played a pi­o­neer­ing lead­er­ship role in get­ting OPEC and sev­eral non-OPEC coun­tries to reach the agree­ment on re­duc­ing oil pro­duc­tion.

“We will con­tinue to be grate­ful for that vi­sion that you ex­pressed sev­eral years ago that we need to come to­gether with OPEC and nonOPEC coun­tries. I would like to ex­press thanks for co­op­er­a­tion with OPEC and for your sup­port and com­mit­ment to vol­un­tary pro­duc­tion ad­just­ments. Azerbaijan is one of the con­sis­tently high­est per­form­ing coun­tries,” the OPEC sec­re­tary gen­eral added.

Speak­ing at the event, the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Gas Ex­port­ing Coun­tries Fo­rum Yury Sen­tyurin said that the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor project high­lights the role of Azerbaijan as an in­ter­na­tional gas hub.

“Azerbaijan has ob­tained the sta­tus of the in­ter­na­tional gas hub thanks to the wise and ra­tio­nal pol­icy pur­sued by Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev. Nat­u­ral gas will play a key role in meet­ing our fu­ture en­ergy needs. The South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor, as one of the largest gas projects in the world, is aimed at en­sur­ing gas sup­plies from the Caspian Sea to Europe. It in­volves ex­ten­sive co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the public and pri­vate sec­tor, and to­day, 7 states and 11 in­de­pen­dent com­pa­nies are work­ing to­gether to com­plete this ma­jor project,” he said.

Sen­tyurin em­pha­sized that the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor is de­signed to change the en­ergy map of the en­tire re­gion, de­liv­er­ing Caspian gas di­rectly to Euro­pean mar­kets for the first time in his­tory.

The sec­re­tary gen­eral noted that, the Euro­pean Union needs fur­ther di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of im­port op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet its fu­ture de­mands for en­ergy.

“The fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ment of Azerbaijan to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project em­pha­sizes the im­por­tant role that the coun­try plays and will con­tinue to play in the di­rec­tion of en­sur­ing en­ergy sus­tain­abil­ity,” he added.

In his speech, BP Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Up­stream Bernard Looney stated that Bri­tish Pe­tro­leum will con­tinue co­op­er­a­tion with Azerbaijan.

Touch­ing upon the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor, he noted that thanks to it, gas within the sec­ond stage of devel­op­ment of the Shah Deniz gas con­den­sate field will go di­rectly to Euro­pean mar­kets by 2020.

Shah Deniz is one of the largest gas fields in the world and over 24,000 peo­ple took part in its devel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to Looney.

Hav­ing re­called that this month Azerbaijan cel­e­brates the 100th an­niver­sary since the es­tab­lish­ment of the Azerbaijan Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic, he quoted the words of the head of state that the founders of the ADR would be proud of Azerbaijan if they could see it to­day.

Looney stressed that there are many rea­sons for be­ing proud of Azerbaijan and in the fu­ture there will be even more.

Later, the video footage about Shah Deniz Stage 2 / South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor projects pre­pared by BP was demon­strated. In con­clu­sion, Pres­i­dent Aliyev pressed a but­ton sym­bol­iz­ing the launch of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor.

To­day, the 25th An­niver­sary In­ter­na­tional Caspian Oil & Gas Ex­hi­bi­tion has opened as well. The open­ing cer­e­mony of the first phase of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor was broad­cast live in the Baku Expo Cen­ter, where the ex­hi­bi­tion is be­ing held.

Within the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Shah Deniz Stage 2, gas pro­duc­tion will in­crease from 9 to 25 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters per year.The pro­duced gas will be ex­ported to Turkey and the Euro­pean mar­kets through the ex­pan­sion of the South Cau­ca­sus Pipeline and the con­struc­tion of the Trans-Ana­to­lian (TANAP) and Trans-Adri­atic (TAP) gas pipe­lines.

A con­tract for devel­op­ment of the Shah Deniz off­shore field was signed on June 4, 1996. The field's re­serves are es­ti­mated at 1.2 tril­lion cu­bic me­ters of gas.

The share­hold­ers in the con­tract are BP (op­er­a­tor - 28.8 per­cent), AzSD (10 per­cent), SGC Up­stream (6.7 per­cent), Petronas (15.5 per­cent), Lukoil (10 per­cent), NIOC (10 per­cent) and TPAO (19 per­cent).

Pres­i­dent ll­ham Aliyev took part in the of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony of the first phase of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor in the San­gachal ter­mi­nal in Baku on May 29.

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