By Nigar Abbasova
High-ranking officials of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran discussed the expansion of bilateral relations in various economic spheres within the official visit of the Iranian delegation led by country's Communication and Information Technology minister Mahmoud Vaezi.
Energy cooperation between the two resource-rich neighbor countries was high on agenda during a meeting of the Iranian delegation with SOCAR head Rovnag Abdullayev.
The sides spoke about the recent expansion of bilateral relations in various economic spheres, strengthening cooperation between oil and gas companies of the two countries, as well as an important role of reciprocal visits in this process.
Abdullayev said that oil and gas cooperation would continue to contribute to the economic development, mentioning that bonds among the oil industry experts of the countries are deepening.
Vaezi pointed out a rich experience of the two countries in the in the field, adding that the experience created great potential for the development of economic cooperation between the countries.
Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Amir Hossein Zamani Nia earlier said that the Islamic Republic may pump its gas to the underground gas storages of Azerbaijan in the nearest future. The Iranian gas is expected to be pumped to the gas storage facilities of Azerbaijan (Garadag and Kalmaz). Gas consumption in Iran significantly increases in the winter season, therefore storage of Iranian gas in the gas storages of Azerbaijan is considered to be an interesting offer for Iran.
Besides, the two countries are implementing swap operations in the gas industry. Azerbaijan is supplying gas to Iran’s Northern provinces in exchange for Iranian gas to Azerbaijan’s autonomous Nakhchivan Republic. Also, the countries may resume the same scheme in the oil industry.
The intention of the sides to deepen cooperation in all areas was also reiterated during a meeting with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
The sides expressed their satisfaction on the successful development of cooperation in all areas, as well as the growth of trade turnover and investments, fruitful progress in the fields of agriculture, transport, tourism, industry and other spheres.
During the meeting the two ministers spoke about the construction of the North-South transport corridor and its importance. Noting the importance of trilateral meeting of the Head of States of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia held in Baku on August 8, 2016, the sides discussed the next meeting which will be hosted by Iran in this format.
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran amounted to $175 million in January to November 2016, $130.13 million of which accounted for the import from Iran, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan. The country's exports to Iran almost doubled to $14.4 million in the first quarter of 2016, while imports increased from $19.4 million in 2015 to $27 million in 2016.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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