In­ter­view with Prof. Bakhti­yar As­lan­bayli

The Diplomatic Insight - - Energy - 18

How can you ex­plain the impact of the geopo­lit­i­cal po­si­tion of Azer­bai­jan over its en­ergy se­cur ity? Be­ing en­ergy-full coun­try, sit­u­at­ing closer to the Eu­ro­pean coun­tries and ex­port­ing to the Eu­ro­pean mar­kets those re­sources em­pha­sizes geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tance of Azer­bai­jan. Other im­por­tant fac­tor in­creas­ing our geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tance is our ca­pac­ity to play bridge­role be­tween Cen­tral Asia and Europe. Our first im­por­tance is be­ing source of raw ma­te­ri­als for Eu­ro­pean mar­ket, while sec­ond im­por­tance is hav­ing tran­sit coun­trys­ta­tus for ex­port­ing of Kazak oil and Turk­men nat­u­ral gas to Eu­ro­pean and world mar­ket. All those fac­tors em­pha­size the geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tance of Azer­bai­jan at the re­gional and in­ter­na­tional con­text. Should emerg­ing En­ergy-pow­erRus­sia and its en­ergy pol­icy be an ex­am­ple for Azer­bai­jan's po­ten­tial en­ergy pol­i­tics in and around the re­gion? I would not en­ti­tle en­ergy pol­icy of Rus­sia as an ex­am­ple for Azer­bai­jan. Be­cause, en­ergy po­ten­tial of both Rus­sia and Azer­bai­jan is ab­so­lutely dif­fer­ent and we can not com­pare their en­ergy po­ten­tial. Rus­sia is one of the lead­ing coun­tries ac­cord­ing to its proven oil and nat­u­ral gas re­serves and is in the first place due to its nat­u­ral gas re­serves 24% of proven nat­u­ral gas re­serves of the world be­long to Rus­sia. How­ever, world's proven oil re­serves in Azer­bai­jan es­ti­mated as 0.5%, while nat­u­ral gas re­serves as 0.7%. There­fore, it is purely un­ac­cept­able to com­pare them due to their en­ergy ca­pac­ity. From the other hand, aim of the en­ergy pol­icy and for­eign pol­icy pri­or­i­ties of both Rus­sia and Azer­bai­jan are also dif­fer­ent. Our strat­egy to con­vert en­ergy po­ten­tial to the for­eign pol­icy div­i­dend is dif­fer­ent as well. So, I do not think that Rus­sian en­ergy pol­icy could be sam­ple forAzer­bai­jan. How­ever, co­op­er­a­tion be­tween two coun­tries is in­evitable. Even though Eu­ro­pean mar­ket is our hope, we must also think about di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of ex­port and take into con­sid­er­a­tion Rus­sian fac­tor. For ex­am­ple, SOCAR and Gasprom signed an agree­ment on pur­chas­ing of nat­u­ral gas of Azer­bai­jan in 2009 and ac­cord­ing to this con­tract 0.8 bcm nat­u­ral gas has been ex­ported to Rus­sia in 2010. Ac­cord­ing to the Ad­den­dum to this Con­tract in 2010, Azer­bai­jan has ex­ported 1.5 bcm nat­u­ral gas to Rus­sia in 2011. Ac­cord­ing to the con­tract signed in Jan­uary 2012, ex­port vol­ume of nat­u­ral gas to Rus­sia will be in­creased up to 3 bcm. In this con­text, co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Azer­bai­jan and Rus­sia is un­avoid­able in cer­tain frame­work and should be con­tin­ued. Should Azer­bai­jan use en­ergy card in the so­lu­tion of Nagorno-Kar abakh prob­lem and how? It is very com­pli­cated is­sue. There are dif­fer­ent ap­proaches on this is­sue. The­o­ret­i­cally, we do have cer­tain ca­pac­ity to use it, but, in my view, prac­ti­cally it is in min­i­mum con­text. Be­cause so­lu­tion of the Nagorno-Karabakh is­sue should be im­ple­mented with in­flu­ence of the cer­tain su­per pow­ers and Rus­sian fac­tor and its in­ter­ests in the so­lu­tion of con­flict also should be con­sid­ered. Ob­tain­ing ac­cess to en­ergy re­sources of Azer­bai­jan is also in­clud­ing to the en­ergy and eco­nomic in­ter­ests of Rus­sia. It is very com­pli­cated to con­vert the en­ergy and eco­nomic in­ter­ests to po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests in terms of so­lu­tion of this con­flict. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the fact of Rus­sia does not vi­tally de­pend on the en­ergy re­sources of Azer­bai­jan, con­tri­bu­tion of en­ergy po­ten­tial of Azer­bai­jan to the so­lu­tion of Nagorno-Karabakh is­sue is not re­al­is­tic. As it ap­pear s from the topic of my in­ter­view, how can you de­scr ibe theen­er­gymap ofAzer­bai­jan ? We can talk about two type of en­ergy map. First one is the al­lo­ca­tion­map of the en­ergy re­sources, while sec­ond one is the ex­port routes map for trans­porta­tion of en­ergy re­sources of Azer­bai­jan to world mar­ket. But this goes be­yond the ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion of the Azer­bai­jan. First type of map in­cludes it­self eco­nomic as­pects. Sec­ond ap­proach is much more pol­icy-ori­ented andwe can en­ti­tle it asan ex­port­geog­ra­phy oran ex­portmap. I con­sider all the ener gy r elated- projects ( such­like NABUCCO, ITGI and TAP) as a fir st step of ac­tive in­volve­ment process in South Cau­ca­sus and around Caspian basin by global ac­tor s in terms of pol­i­tics. What do you think about it? Main aim of those projects in terms of Eu­ro­pean en­ergy se­cu­rity is to di­min­ish en­ergy de­pen­dence on Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion. It is ob­vi­ous that, they do not in­tend to run away from that de­pen­dence. Be­cause, as I men­tioned be­fore, en­ergy ca­pac­ity of Rus­sia is too much and fan­tas­ti­cally in the high­est level. So, in case of re­al­iza­tion of EU-led pipe­lines projects (such as NABUCCO, ITGI, TAP), it is pos­si­ble to de­crease the en­ergy de­pen­dence of Europe from Rus­sia de­liv­er­ing the nat­u­ral gas of Caspian basin, but it will not com­pletely able to abol­ish this de­pen­dence. What about re­al­iza­tion of the projects, it is im­pos­si­ble to re­al­ize NABUCCOin the ini­tial step. In the ini­tial step, NABUCCOwas con­sid­ered as a con­tin­u­a­tion of Southern Gas Cor­ri­dor (BakuTi­flis-Erzu­rum pipe­line). This pipe­line con­sid­ered to be run along with cer­tain route con­structed over Turkey and Europe and de­liv­ered to the Baum­garten (Aus­tria). How­ever, af­ter the

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