By Ayya Lmahamad
Italian companies are interested in participating in the reconstruction works to be carried out in Azerbaijan’s liberated territories, State Secretary of the Italian Foreign Ministry and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano said during his visit to Baku on December 9.
Stefano, who is also co-chair of joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between the Azerbaijan and Italy, made the remarks during the meeting of Italian delegation with the Azerbaijan Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov at ADA University on December 9.
He also shared his impressions of his visit to Aghdam, which was liberated from Armenian occupation, stressing Italian companies’ interest in participating in reconstruction works there.
In turn, Shahbazov thanked the Italian government for supporting Azerbaijan’s fair position during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The parties touched upon the economic and trade relations between the two countries and discussed the ongoing and future projects with Italian companies.
Moreover, the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the last segment of the project, was stressed. In addition, it was noted that Azerbaijani gas would soon be transported to Europe through the corridor.
Furthermore, during the state visit of the Azerbaijani President to Italy in February this year, according to the agreement signed between ADA University and the University of Luiss to expand the Italy-Azerbaijan education program and to establish Italy-Azerbaijan University, the importance of continuing the work was emphasized.
Rector of ADA University, professor Hafiz Pashayev briefed the participants on the preparation carried out within the mentioned cooperation.
Additionally, during the meeting the parties agreed to hold a meeting in videonference format to discuss the preparation for the 6th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy to be held in Baku next year.
It should be noted that Italy remained Azerbaijan’s main trading partner between January and October 2020 with a trade turnover of $4.2 billion out of the country's total turnover of $17.8 billion. Export from Azerbaijan to Italy amounted to $3.8 billion, while import from Italy amounted to $341 million.
Italy was Azerbaijan’s top trade partner in 2019 as well with the mutual trade amounting to $7 billion and Azerbaijan was the largest supplier of crude oil to Italy in this period. Some 113 Italian companies, operating in various fields, are registered in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is one of Italy’s three main energy resources suppliers. The implementation of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline project is expected to further boost cooperation between the two countries.
The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for a natural gas supply route from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. The route from Azerbaijan to Europe consists of the South Caucasus Pipeline, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.
TAP is a pipeline project to transport natural gas, starting from Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and further to Western Europe.
The pipeline would be supplied by natural gas from the second stage of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and TANAP. Since it will enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project is supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest" and a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.
The total length of the pipeline is 878 kilometres, of which 550 kilometres in Greece, 215 kilometres in Albania, 105 kilometres in offshore, and 8 kilometres in Italy. The offshore leg is laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres.
The initial capacity of the pipeline is about 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres.
TAP’s shareholders are BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz