Energy projects being implemented by Azerbaijan are characterized by proportionality and well-calculated economic logic, doctor of economics, Professor of Russia’s Saint Petersburg State University Stanislav Tkachenko told Trend Feb. 18.
The professor noted that in a situation where the structure of gas market changes due to decrease in pipeline transport in favor of LNG, prompt construction of gas pipeline infrastructure that will reliably connect consumers in Turkey and Southern Europe to gas from Azerbaijan - is a correct and timely policy.
“Azerbaijan’s modern gas pipeline projects differ advantageously from the similar Russian ones,” Tkachenko added. “For example, construction of pipelines by Russia’s Gazprom company in the Black Sea region is dictated more by strategic interests rather than by economic ones. Turkey, in turn, is turning into the main gas hub for Southern Europe, having invested a minimum of its own funds in gas pipelines.”
The professor said that the current cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan in the supply of natural gas to consumers in Turkey and Southern Europe has little potential, but the relations between the two countries in this area aren’t doomed to conflict.
“Russia initially considered the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) as a competitor to Gazprom at one of the region’s biggest gas markets - the Turkish one,” said Tkachenko. “The gas supplied via the recently launched TANAP replaces Russian one. But at the same time, Russia neither explicitly nor secretly opposed the commissioning of TANAP. Moscow considers Azerbaijan as the most important partner, the economic growth of which is based on market principles and stimulates development of adjacent regions of Russia. Baku acts according to the rules of the global economy, and Moscow recognizes it without hesitation.”
The expert noted that the statement made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Jan. 21 in Davos that Russia may join TANAP is a conciliatory and constructive message for Russia’s leadership.
“According to the rules in force in the EU, no supplier country can use more than 50 percent of capacities of the gas pipeline built by that country, passing through the territory of the EU,” Tkachenko added. “The remaining volumes should be provided on a market basis to other producers or transit countries. In the short term, Russia is unlikely to take advantage of the proposal of the Azerbaijani president. But in the future, Russia may supply its gas to the markets of southern Europe along the part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will be continuation of TANAP and will pass through the European part of Turkey towards the EU (Greece, Italy).”
The prospects for TANAP, given the current realities, are quite optimistic, the professor said. Tkachenko believes that this important project for the Azerbaijani economy has already become a driver of accelerating its economic growth.
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