Russia proposes to consider intensifying the activity of Azerbaijan in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) by raising the latter’s status to that of a member state, Anatoly Yanovsky, Russian Deputy Energy Minister, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
He noted that Azerbaijan has long been a member of the GECF, and, despite its decision to be remain content with an observer status, Azerbaijani delegates consistently participate in all Forum events.
Yanovsky further noted that the cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan has a long history and is based on the principles of good-neighborliness and strategic partnership.
"The close cooperation of our countries at various venues greatly contributes to the strengthening of our dialogue on matters of energy. We note the active dynamic of bilateral cooperation between our countries, both on issues on the bilateral agenda and on multilateral cooperation, including the implementation of the OPEC + deal," he said.
Azerbaijan and Russia, according to Yanovsky, continue their cooperation in the petroleum industry for the transportation of Azerbaijani oil through Russia. The deputy noted that the transit is carried out based on a commercial agreement between Russia’s state-owned Transneft company and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), adding that 1.3 million tons of Azerbaijani oil was pumped in 2018.
The deputy minister remarked that on September 1, 2018, as part of the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Russia, the Russian oil company Rosneft and Azerbaijani SOCAR signed a contract for the supply of oil to Turkey to the STAR refinery, as well as an agreement on joint study of the oil and gas potential of the "Goshadash" bloc and the northern part of the shallow shelf of the Absheron Peninsula in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
The GECF is an association of the world’s leading natural gas exporting countries. Azerbaijan received observer status within the organization in November 2015.
The GECF has 12 gas-exporting member states, such as Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates, along with 7 observer states - Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman and Peru.
The GECF was founded in 2001 in Tehran and passed the procedure of a legal institution on December 23, 2008 in Moscow, where the energy ministers of the participating countries adopted the charter of the forum and signed an intergovernmental agreement. The GECF member states account for 42 percent of the global gas production and 70 percent of the global reserves.
According to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, the trade turnover with Russia amounted to $2.5 billion in 2018, with $665.7 million accounting for the export of Azerbaijani products. The trade turnover between the countries, when compared with the previous year, rose by 16.1 percent.
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