By Leman Mammadova
The 9th International Caspian Energy Forum - 2019 has begun in Baku, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Contract of the Century and the 20th anniversary of Caspian Energy magazine.
Speaking at the forum, Elnur Sultanov, Deputy Minister of Energy, said that Azerbaijan prepares proposals on liberalization of energy market that will affect efficiency in the areas of production and supply.
“Competition in the supply sector helps to improve the quality of services, and in the production sector - to reduce costs and minimize costs due to less fuel consumption,” Sultanov said.
“The main fuel in the production of electricity in Azerbaijan is natural gas. Azerbaijan is ahead of Western countries in this area. The country does not use coal and after renewable energy sources, natural gas is the cleanest energy source,” the official noted.
Sultanov pointed to the high price of natural gas in the global market. “However, gas is supplied to the local energy sector at a socially-oriented subsidized price.”
He added that export of natural gas will bring additional income to the Azerbaijani people and the state.
Referring to the country’s renewable energy potential, Sultanov noted that the annual potential of wind energy in Azerbaijan is estimated at about 3,000 MW, and solar energy at 23,000 MW. Thus, Azerbaijan’s renewable energy resources amount to 30,000 MW per year.
“Azerbaijan can fully satisfy its energy needs. The annual energy consumption in Azerbaijan is less than 4000 MW. That is, Azerbaijan can fully provide itself with energy from renewable sources,” Sultanov stressed.
He also added that the use of solar and wind energy will help not only minimize environmental damage, but also save natural gas. “Steps have already been taken in this direction. Negotiations are ongoing with several global companies and results will be announced in the near future.”
During the forum, Khalaf Khalafov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Special Representative of the Azerbaijani President for border and Caspian Sea issues, hailed the importance of Azerbaijan’s close political and economic cooperation with Caspian littoral states in ensuring mutual security and trust in the Caspian Sea.
Khalafov pointed out that the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea covers three directions.
In his words, the first is the further strengthening of cooperation in the region, the impetus for political dialogue and the development of international relations between the Caspian states.
As for the second direction, he mentioned economic sphere and included the strengthening environmental cooperation to the third.
Khalafov stressed that the formation of the ecological law of the Caspian Sea region will contribute to the fact that all projects implemented here will meet international environmental standards.
“The Caspian Sea connects not only neighboring countries, but also Asia and Europe,” he added.
The 9th International Caspian Energy Forum - 2019 was attended by representatives of 50 countries, including heads of government agencies, ministries, state committees, agencies, services of the countries of the Caspian-Black Sea and Baltic regions as well as state and multinational companies, international financial institutions, leading analytical centers, investment companies and rating agencies, in addition, representatives of diplomatic and international missions accredited in Azerbaijan.
The first session of the three-session forum was devoted to the development of the oil and gas sector, industry and the implementation of infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan.
The second session of the forum will touch upon the development of the financial sector. A special place will be given to the development of small and medium-sized businesses.
During the third session, a detailed report will be given on the successful implementation of ICT projects, the development of the agro-industrial complex and tourism potential of Azerbaijan
The forum will host plenary thematic sessions.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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