By Leman Mammadova
Italy is a reliable partner of Azerbaijan in Europe with whom bilateral beneficial cooperation exists in all areas. High-level reciprocal visits and intensive political dialogue contribute to the development of strategic partnership ties between the two countries.
Italy is one of the main buyers of Azerbaijani oil. Italian company Eni has been involved in several projects on the operation of oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan since 1995, which laid the foundation for economic cooperation between countries. Since 1999, Italy has begun to receive a large part of Azerbaijani oil exported through the Baku-Supsa pipeline and then through Baku-Jeyhan.
Azerbaijan will also supply gas to this country through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is the main part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). The TAP project is one of the strategic objectives of the EU in the energy security and diversification of energy sources, chosen as the shortest and direct way to export natural gas from Azerbaijan to the European markets.
Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov and Guglielmo Picchi, Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, have discussed the Southern Gas Corridor and TAP projects.
Shahbazov stressed that the energy sector plays an important role in economic cooperation with Italy and spoke about the benefits of the TAP project for Italian gas consumers.
He also highlighted the opportunities for Italian companies to expand their investment activities in Azerbaijan and to participate in the process of diversification of the country's economy.
Picchi, in turn, noted the significance of the SGC project for both countries. He highly praised the role of TAP in the diversification of energy supplies and pointed to the support for the project's timely completion.
The sides also discussed preparations for holding the fifth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Italian Intergovernmental Commission this year.
SGC is one of the priority projects for the EU and envisages the transportation of gas to Turkey and Europe through the pipeline, which will be operated within the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas condensate field project in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. The project consists of four parts: Shah Deniz 2, Expansion of South Caucasus Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum), the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and TAP.
TAP gas pipeline, which is currently under construction, will be operational in early 2020. The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the possibility of doubling it. TAP shareholders include BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagas (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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