By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Perviz Shahbazov has said that the Southern Gas Corridor, a global energy project to bring Caspian gas resources to Europe, will be fully commissioned in 2020, in the same speech where he hailed U.S’ role in Azerbaijan’s energy projects.
The minister made the remarks during the “Contract of the Century: Building on 25 Years of Success” forum held in Washington, U.S. on November 21, local media reported.
The minister highly appreciated the partnership with the foreign energy companies and the continued support of the United States in the implementation of Azerbaijan's energy policy course.
Emphasizing that the energy sector has always been of strategic importance in relations with the USA, he noted that the United States has been a strong partner in all of Azerbaijan's energy initiatives.
"The US strong political support also played an important role in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor global energy security project. The Southern Gas Corridor, as stated by US President Donald Trump, is the pinnacle of our energy cooperation. The following year, with the full commissioning of the Southern Gas Corridor, we will achieve the next success of our cooperation,” he added.
Shahbazov said that Azerbaijan’s revenues from oil and gas projects implemented within 25 years amounts to $146 billion.
He noted that more than $100 billion were invested in Azerbaijan’s oil sector. Shahbazov also touched upon the contributions of the contract on the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields, which have already produced 496 million tons of oil and 163 billion cubic meters of gas, are not limited for a century.
“These consistent results of the Contract of the Century strengthen Azerbaijan’s steps towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, a deep reform course led by President Ilham Aliyev provides strong support for the country's comprehensive and sustainable development in the future,” Shahbazov said.
Afghan Nifti, Executive Director of the Caspian Policy Center also spoke at the event. He said that the Contract of the Century contributed to the economic development of Azerbaijan and the Caspian region, providing the Caspian oil to the world.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov highlighted strategic cooperation between the two countries, noting that sustained and strong support from various U.S. administrations played an important role in the implementation of Azerbaijan's energy projects.
He added that Azerbaijan, which is currently pursuing successfully and independently its energy policy will bring the Caspian region closer to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor and thus, stimulate economic growth and new partnerships.
Speaking at the event, U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes said that The Contract of the Century has bolstered global energy security immeasurably.
He also noted that through 27 years of bilateral relations, Azerbaijan has become an important partner for the US. “We look forward to further strengthening the relationship between our countries,” Menezes added.
Former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Robert Cekuta also spoke at the event. He noted that the Contract of the Century will be a basis for future agreements moving Azerbaijan’s energy resources to the West.
“It will be the basis for the future agreements moving Azerbaijan’s energy resources to the west, in particular, $40 billion+ Southern Gas Corridor, which will provide a new secure natural gas source for Europe. It will have beneficial implications for opening the immense oil and gas deposits of the other newly independent states in the Caspian, helping them increase their financial well-being,” he added.
Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources (ENR) Francis Fannon said the Contract of the Century has transformed the economy of Azerbaijan and its partner countries, and that the United States will continue to support Azerbaijan's energy projects.
High-ranking officials of the countries of the Caspian region and energy companies also took part at the event organized by the Caspian Policy Centre.
Signed by 11 large oil corporations on September 20, 1994, in Baku, the “Contract of the Century” launched a grand program on joint development of three Azerbaijani oil fields in the Caspian Sea - Azeri, Chirag, Gunashli. In light of its paramount importance, it was called the “Contract of the Century.” Today, the Contract is one of the largest agreements in terms of both the amount of hydrocarbon reserves and the total volume of the proposed investment.
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