Joining the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project will significantly increase Azerbaijan's influence in the region, a leading Russian analyst at the Center for Political Information Ivan Pyatibratov told Trend.
According to the expert, construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline will include Turkmenistan in the TANAP transport system,where Azerbaijan plays a central role.
"Bringing a new country to the project provides for an increase in Azerbaijan's influence in the region. Not least of all, this is due to the fact that the country, investing in the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, also invests in the infrastructure of Turkmenistan, which brings countries economically closer. Also, it should be especially noted that the EU plans to invest in the construction, which, of course, will strengthen Azerbaijan's interaction with this organization," the analyst said.
"At the same time, work on this project will increase Azerbaijan's influence among the Caspian littoral countries as a whole. For a long time, undertaking some kind of construction at the bottom of the Caspian was senseless and risky. Now, with this project, Azerbaijan is joining its water area with the water area of Turkmenistan, and therefore, we can talk about the formation of a powerful economic union in the Caspian Sea."
Pyatibratov stressed that Turkmenistan had long been interested in building the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.
"However, given the unresolved issue of the status of the Caspian, construction could not begin. If it had begun, it would have triggered a series of diplomatic conflicts between the Caspian littoral countries. In 2018, after many years of discussion, the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was signed, thanks to which the implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project became quite real," Pyatibratov said.
"Of course, not only Turkmenistan is interested in the construction of this gas pipeline. The end consumers of Turkmen gas, EU countries, are also interested. Their benefits are understandable - a new source of gas and the ability to diversify suppliers," the expert said.
"Finally, recently there are frequent talks about Azerbaijan's formation as a hub of the economic paths of the Middle East. I would add that, by securing an increasing number of transport and energy routes, Azerbaijan is becoming an important link between Europe and the countries of the Middle East. This situation is geopolitically extremely beneficial, since Azerbaijan, in fact, can regulate the economic connection of these players," the analyst added.
According to Pyatibratov, all these factors will play a positive role for both the economy and the politics of Azerbaijan.
The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline provides for the transportation of Turkmen gas to Europe through Azerbaijan.
Turkmenistan is exploring the possibility of bringing its energy carriers to the European market. For this, it is necessary to lay a 300-kilometer gas pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to the Azerbaijani coast.
Turkmenistan has announced its readiness to supply up to 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Europe.
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